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Solar Panels

We want to warn our members about potentially DECEPTIVE sales tactics happening in our area regarding solar panels. Please be extra careful about accepting sales pitches, especially those that are pushy and SOUND TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

Most will tell you something along the lines of, “you will eliminate your electric bill, and this will cost you nothing.”

BEFORE you sign any type of contract to install solar, PLEASE CALL US. We are here to help you and have your best interests in mind. Many solar panel salesmen only seem concerned about making a profit — not about you.

Things to consider before purchasing solar

  • 1

    Contact Jackson REMC: We support our members investing in solar energy, we just want to make sure you have all the facts before you purchase. Jackson County REMC is your local, trusted cooperative and we are here to answer any questions you may have.

  • 2

    Choose a reputable vendor: If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. You should never be pressured into making such a large life changing purchase. Make sure you are working with a reputable vendor. Be cautious of venders that approach you directly. You should be seeking them out. Aren’t sure who to work with? Contact Jackson County REMC and we can help point you in the right direction.

  • 3

    Know your co-op’s rate structure and interconnection purchased power policies: Your local not-for-profit energy provider can help you understand the rate structure your services fall under and the types of charges likely to be incurred, as well as how you may be compensated for the excess energy you do not use that is generated by your solar system.

  • 4

    Research potential incentives and tax credits: Financial incentives, such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), may be available to offset your investment costs. We encourage you to talk with a tax advisor to learn more. Perspective Vendors may not be up to date with the correct information, so it is recommended to speak to a professional.

  • 5

    Determine the costs upfront: Jackson County REMC does not install or maintain member-owned solar systems. You will be responsible for the initial costs to install the system and ongoing maintenance and repair costs. Doing your homework before investing in a system will help you understand costs involved, such as installation and interconnection costs, insurance, taxes, as well as incentives and tax credits. Your research will help determine if a solar system is economical for your energy needs.

  • 6

    Understand responsibilities: Installing a solar system requires that certain responsibilities be met by all parties involved with the process. For example, the owner of the distributed energy system is responsible for obtaining the proper equipment and ensuring that all requirements of the electric co-op’s interconnection agreement are met, including paying any necessary costs. Local and/or state officials are responsible for conducting safety inspections, but the owner of the solar system must notify the local and state officials to set this in motion. Once all interconnection requirements are met and the safety and integrity of the system meet all necessary criteria, then the cooperative is responsible for the final stages of interconnection. Ongoing maintenance and system repairs are the responsibility of the generation system owner.

  • 7

    Do your homework on everything above before you write a check: If you are considering investing in a solar system, talk to your electric cooperative before you begin. Also talk to credible, reputable, and skilled professionals who are knowledgeable in solar systems. They can direct you to additional resources that will help you understand the economics of a solar system, including the type of renewable energy technology best for your property; and financing, potential incentives, and other requirements, such as insurance required. In addition to professionals, ask for the advice of others who have installed a solar system to learn what they like about their system or what they wished they would have done differently. Your cooperative representative may know about systems installed in your area.

Solar Frequently asked questions

Do I need to contact Jackson County REMC before I install a solar system on my property?

Yes! Owners of solar, also referred to as alternative energy production facilities (such as solar photovoltaic and wind turbines) are highly recommended to notify their utility company, which includes Jackson County REMC, of plans to construct, install and operate any system that will be connected to the utility’s systems. Utility systems include electric transmission lines, distribution lines, or attached equipment. Talk to Jackson County REMC about filling out an interconnection application in advance of purchasing or installing any solar equipment.

If I install a solar system, will I need the grid?

To ensure reliable and uninterrupted power, individual renewable systems typically must be balanced with a continuous source of dependable power from central station generation. It is rare for individuals who want continuous and reliable electricity to be completely off the grid. Backup generation in the form of a gas-powered generator, battery bank, or some other storage technology is needed if the consumer desires a continuous supply of power but is no longer on the grid. Backup systems can be more expensive and less reliable than currently available central station generation provided by an electricity provider using the grid.

Will my electric cooperative help cover costs associated with determining if owning a solar system is a good choice for me?

It is the sole responsibility of the member-owner to determine if owning a solar system is a good investment. Jackson County REMC does not provide financial assistance with the analysis. However, we have created this reference information to help members-owners understand the complexity of owning a solar system before deciding.

Since I will be using all the energy output that I generate with my solar system, do I still need to contact Jackson County REMC?

No matter the size of the system or the power output, consumers are highly recommended to notify their electric cooperative of plans to construct, install and operate any system that will be connected to the cooperative’s systems (electric transmission lines, distribution lines, or attached equipment). Talk to Jackson County REMC about filling out an interconnection application in advance of purchasing or installing any solar equipment. To participate in our “Purchase Offer R” an interconnection agreement is also required prior to operating the system.

On a cloudy day, will my solar generation system produce the same amount of energy as it does on a sunny day?

Solar energy production is at its highest on a sunny day; cloudy skies can significantly impact production. Research shows that production may drop 60-70 percent or more on a cloudy day versus a mostly sunny day. Learn more.

Is Jackson County REMC engaged in renewable energy?

Yes! We want to be your trusted source when it comes to renewable energy. Jackson County REMC fully supports renewable energy and responsible environmental policies that balance the needs of the environment while providing affordable, safe, and reliable power. Along with Hoosier Energy, Jackson County REMC’s power supplier and 17 other local electric cooperatives, we have invested millions of dollars into renewable resources, such as wind, solar, hydro, and landfill methane gas into our portfolios Hoosier Energy and their member cooperatives have built 10MW of solar projects throughout southern Indiana. Each solar facility produces enough power in a year to serve 150 average cooperative homes.

Will Jackson County REMC pay me for my excess energy?

Jackson County REMC will purchase excess energy produced at an “avoided cost” basis. (see Purchase Offer R for details) You WILL NOT be paid our retail rate.

Does solar generation production match my cooperative’s peak demand periods?

Peak production for solar generation is typically between 2-4 p.m. and consumer electric use generally peaks in the early evening, which means there is a mismatch between energy production and energy consumption. To maximize the potential benefits of solar, it is important to size the system properly and invest in the technology that coincides with providing the most output during your peak-use period.

Questions to Ask Installers

Cost and Energy
  • What is the total installed cost of the system?
  • Do you propose a roof mount or ground mount system? What are the differences in cost, maintenance, space, etc…?
  • If a roof mount system is recommended do I need a new roof or does my existing roof have an adequate lifespan?
  • How much of my energy use would my solar system provide?
  • How much would my monthly energy bills be after installation?
  • How long would my payback period be on my solar system? What are the key assumptions associated with my payback
    that may impact that result?
  • How will solar affect my homeowner’s insurance?
Hardware and Installation
  • If my energy use changes, will I be able to add more panels later?
  • Will I need a new roof for any reason to install and utilize these solar panels i.e., weight, lifespan remaining?
  • Who is responsible for maintaining or replacing the solar panels or electronics?
  • If these panels or the installation damage my property, who is responsible?
  • In which country are the solar panels and inverters you are selling made?
  • What kind of warranties do the solar panels and inverters have? When does equipment typically need to be replaced?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • What kind of battery storage does your system use? What is the typical life span of the batteries and how much do they cost?
Vendor Verification
  • When was your company established and how much solar has it installed to date? (Ask for references.)
  • Does your company have a standard insurance certificate with adequate general liability coverage of $1 million or more? (Ask to see it)
  • Does your company have professional liability insurance? (Ask to see it)
  • Are your solar installers North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Electric trained and certified?
  • Do you have an Indiana licensed professional engineer and master electrician on staff to review and approve drawings, obtain permits, and supervise electrical work? Will you handle that paperwork?
  • Are you accredited with the Better Business Bureau? If so, what is your rating? Has the Better Business Bureau contacted you with any complaints?
  • Will you complete all the paperwork associated with financing, tax credits, and/or grants? Does that cost extra?
  • Do you work with any affiliated companies or sub-contractors?
  • Do you offer any warranties or guarantees on your installation work? If so for how long and what does it cover?