Member-Owned Generation - Frequently Asked Questions

Member-Owned Generation - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’ve been thinking about installing a wind turbine or solar photovoltaic generation system on my property. What is the process for adding a generation system to my home or business? 
A: To get started, you should do some research regarding the size, type, and cost of the system you are interested in; contact vendors/installers for information; and obtain bids or quotations containing the price and proposed system specifications. You should also obtain a copy of Rock Energy’s Interconnection Policy and Guidelines for Technical Requirements of Interconnection and Operation of DG Resources. This information can be provided to potential vendors so they know about the cooperative’s technical requirements. 
 
Q: Do I need permission to interconnect a generation system to Rock Energy’s electric system? 
A: Yes. In order to connect a wind turbine, solar system, or other generation equipment to Rock Energy’s distribution system, you must first submit a Parallel Generation Application Form to the cooperative. 
 
Q:  How does the application process work? 
A: Once you have selected a system, you and your installer should complete and sign Rock Energy’s Parallel Generation Application Form. In addition to your address and account information, the application includes specific information about the purpose, output, nature, and design of the proposed generation system. We will try to respond to your application within one week. 
 
Q: What happens when the application is approved? 
A: Upon approval, you will be asked to sign an Interconnection Agreement where you agree to operate and maintain your generation system in accordance with Rock Energy’s rules and policies. These requirements are designed to protect distribution system facilities, avoid electrical interference problems, and ensure the safety of Rock Energy’s members and employees. Your installer may then complete the installation of your generation system in accordance with the Interconnection Policy.
 
Q: Will Rock Energy Cooperative buy back any power generated that I don’t use? 
 A: Yes. Rock Energy offers both Small Distributed Generation (Net Metering) Service and Parallel Generation Service to members who own generation systems connected in parallel with the cooperative’s electric distribution system. Small Distributed Generation Service applies only to renewable generation systems with a capacity of 30 kilowatts (kW) or less. Parallel Generation Service applies to all member-owned generation systems with capacity greater than 30 kW. Under both services, the member is compensated for the electricity generated at “avoided cost.” Avoided cost is what Rock Energy would otherwise have to pay its supplier for power produced by the member’s generation system. 
 
Q: How will I know I’m being compensated for the energy produced by my generation system? 
A: Both the electricity that you use in your home or business and the electricity that is produced by your generation system will be shown on your electric bill. Electric usage will be shown as charges, while electric generation will be shown as credits that reduce your total power bill. 
 
Q: What if I produce more power than I use? 
A: You may accumulate credits on your bill during the year to be applied to future months when consumption of electricity may exceed production. You may not, however, carry over credit balances from year to year. At the end of each calendar year, any remaining credit balance will be issued to the member by check. 
 
Q: What is a coincidental demand charge and why am I being billed for it? 
A: As a member who desires to enter into a business relationship in which the cooperative may be purchasing electricity from you, the Distributed Generation rates mirror our power provider charges and is similar in structure to the co-op’s other commercial rates. The coincidental demand is the monthly charge for your metered demand (kW) at the hour of our power supplier’s highest on-peak demand. When a member is able to reduce or even eliminate their monthly coincidental demand, the member is able to save money. As a result of separating the demand component from the energy charge, which is embedded in the traditional residential rate, the energy (kWh) charges are significantly reduced.