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Peak Alert

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Green Normal Conditions

Your cooperative is currently experiencing normal energy demand. No special energy saving measures are necessary.

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Solar Electricity

Solar electricity (also called photovoltaic or PV solar) is another form of alternative energy; it uses sunlight to generate electricity.

Before investing in a solar electric system, reduce your home's energy consumption. Increasing energy efficiency is cost effective and will reduce the size of the solar energy system needed.

The Solar PV Energy Guide provides information and resources to help you make informed decisions as you pursue making an investment in your own solar energy system.

Member-owners should ask dealers of solar devices many of the same questions posed to wind contractors. Please also refer to the information below as it pertains to solar electricity as well.

Member-owner's responsibilities

The general requirements for a member-owner to install and interconnect wind generation include paying for any interconnection devices that are necessary to protect the safety of the cooperative representatives and to maintain the integrity of the delivery system. The member-owner is also expected to carry liability insurance. Individuals must also pay for the necessary metering equipment used to measure kilowatt-hours (kWhs) delivered back to the grid by the member-owner.

Cooperative's responsibilities

Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative is your partner in providing you with safe, reliable electric service. We have requirements in place to address issues of safety, grid integrity and cost fairness. Those requirements (1) protect the safety of member-owners and cooperative employees (2) maintain the integrity and reliability of the grid and (3) ensure cost fairness.

Cooperatives must adhere to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations when working with a member-owner to connect wind generators to the grid. An operating agreement between the cooperative and the member-owner typically is developed to ensure proper communication and protections are in place prior to connection of the facility to the grid. Consideration must also be given to established requirements for installation, maintenance, metering, switching and liability insurance.

Notify co-op of alternative energy installation

With the passage of House File 2301 by the Iowa Legislature, member-owners installing renewable energy systems must provide notice to their cooperative utilities in writing 30 days before the generators are installed.

Safety hazards result if member-owners install alternative generating sources, such as solar panels or small wind turbines, without notifying Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative of that installation. Should there be a power outage requiring work on cooperative electric lines, linemen may be unaware of the additional connected generation and think the line is dead. Linemen could easily be injured by power feeding back onto the line from the member-owner's alternative energy sources.

When contacted about new alternative generation that will be installed, the cooperative will advise member-owners about devices needed at the interconnection point that will keep power from flowing back onto the grid.

Ten steps to a sound decision (Questions for a potential contractor/dealer)

1. Does the company have experience installing grid-connected systems?

2. Does the company use licensed, certified and insured contractors?

3. Does the company provide assistance in evaluating the potential electric production for your site and determining economic payback on your investment?

4. Does the company have any consumer complaints, judgments or liens against it?

5. Will the company help with the applications required by the local building permitting agency and the utility for grid-connection systems?

6. How much, if any, of the work will be contracted out?

7. When will construction begin and how long will it take?

8. What type of warranty is offered? Will the company provide a performance bone?

9. Does the company do service and repairs on the equipment?

10. Will the company provide references from previous installations? Can I contact them?

Where can I find more information about solar?

Farm Energy

The Farm Energy website provides information on the Energy Title programs of the Federal Farm Bill and energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Distributed Generation Information

The informational guide is intended to help residential and small business customers who are considering installing electric generation (wind, solar, biomass, etc.) on their property.

Federal tax credits may be available. For the latest information, please refer to the Energy Star website.

Contact Us

For questions relating to renewable energy, please contact Al Zeitz at 800-225-4532.