Some of our members own their own solar or wind generation.
Before you invest in a system, contact us to see if your system can be interconnected safely and if there are any restrictions or limitations.
When researching a cogeneration system such as solar panels, wind turbines, or other generators, some of the questions and considerations you should have in mind:
Do you plan to interconnect the system to Verendrye's facilities?
- Have you consulted your utility to ensure it can be interconnected safely?
- Does equipment meet federal, state and local codes?
- What are the costs in addition to the system itself?
- Systems cannot be installed in a facility with submeters unless it is connected as a separate service.
If you wish to install a system and interconnect it with the cooperative's electric distribution system you need to complete an application and submit it to us.
Once we receive your application, we will review your proposed generator installation. If we approve your application, we will let you know if there are special steps you need to take during the generator installation process. We may request additional information regarding your planned installation. We will also ask you to sign a contract in which you agree to operate your generator safely, maintain the unit properly, and maintain insurance as needed.
You can give us a call at anytime during this review process to find out the status of your application. If your application is not approved for any reason, we will explain the reason and be available to discuss it.
Call us before planning your project
Purchasing a solar or wind power system for your home or business could lower your energy bill and provide you with tax incentives, but there are some things to consider first.
“We can’t stress enough the need to call us before purchasing a renewable energy system for your home or business,” said Members Services Manager Tom Rafferty. “This is crucial, especially if you want to sell power back to us.”
The No. 1 issue is safety. Verendrye needs to make sure your system can safely interconnect with ours while meeting all federal, state and local codes.
We also do not allow systems to be connected if there are submeters at the location. When submeters are present, it is impossible to accurately measure your electricity use. Utility companies around the country prohibit the use of submeters if consumers install their own generation.
The submeter issue is critical because it can result in a substantial expense to you. Having a submeter for electric heat allows you cut your electric heating rate from 10.35 cents a kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 4.5 cents.
If you were to install your own power generation system, we would either have to remove the submeter, resulting in a much higher rate for heating, or you would be required to install a separate service for your electric heat, which could be a significant expense. These additional expenses can cut into the benefit you get with your renewable project.
We also want consumers to be aware of the rates we pay to buy power from members. If your system is less than 50,000 watts (50 KW), then our buyback rate is 4 cents per kWh. If it is more than 50 KW, the rate is set by the federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The PURPA rate was 1.484 cents per kWh at the time of this publication.
We do not buy back power from you at same rate we sell it because our rate includes more than just the cost to produce power. We need to set rates that allow us to also pay for our infrastructure, debt service, employees, maintenance, outage response and more.
You can find more information, including an interconnection application at www.verendrye.com and clicking in the Energy Services tab. Contact Member Services at 852-0406 if you have questions.