Is solar energy right for you?

Posted on Jul 01 2021 in Harrison REMC

Are you thinking about installing solar at your home or business? Not every home in the Midwest is optimal for solar panels, so how do you determine if yours is?

Solar panels should be installed in the right direction and angle to capture the sun’s rays for the longest period of time during the day to maximize the sun’s potential energy. This includes installing them away from trees, hills and buildings that cast long shadows during fall and winter months.

This region of the Midwest often has long winter months with fewer hours of sunshine and more days of cloud cover. This is a big issue since more electricity is used during the winter months to combat cold nights and dark mornings and evenings when solar is producing little to no energy.

Homeowners often don’t see the full potential of solar power because their energy use does not align with solar. Most people don’t use energy in the middle of the day when solar may be at its peak performance. Use cannot be offset at night without battery storage, which can double to triple the cost of the system and reduce the overall savings potential.  

To begin the process for solar installation, contact Harrison REMC to help evaluate your energy use and determine what size and type of system you need. 

Energy efficiency is still the best investment for the greatest savings in our area. Installing a solar energy system before you upgrade your home’s energy efficiency will reduce your solar savings in the future. 

The best strategy is to complete all your energy efficiency upgrades, and then size your solar energy system based on the new use for optimal savings potential.

Harrison REMC also can explain the rate structure for your services, the charges likely to be incurred, and your compensation for unused excess energy generated by your system, as well as walk you through interconnection agreements and purchased power policies.

When you are ready to install, be sure to find a reputable installer who will guide you through financing, potential incentives and other requirements such as insurance. 

Refer to the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners at to locate certified installers and practitioners in your area. 

Don’t forget to do your homework before investing in a system to understand costs involved, such as installation and interconnection costs, insurance, taxes, maintenance and repair costs, as well as incentives and tax credits. You will need insurance to cover the system if it is damaged or stolen, and also if your system causes damage to the property of others. 

Your electric cooperative provides electricity when your distributed generation system (solar system) is not producing sufficient energy to meet your needs, which keeps you connected to the grid. Because of this connection, you will need to work with Harrison REMC to meet requirements that keep the grid reliable and safe. 

All interconnection and safety requirements must be met prior to operating a solar system in parallel with the co-op’s electric distribution system. This is necessary to protect other member-consumers, cooperative employees, public safety personnel and the general public from risks that could result from the improper installation of distributed generation. 

You will be responsible for obtaining the proper equipment and ensuring that all requirements of Harrison REMC’s interconnection agreement are met, including paying any necessary costs and ensuring safety inspections. Once all interconnection requirements are met and the safety and integrity of the system meet all necessary criteria, then Harrison REMC is responsible for the final stages of interconnection. Ongoing maintenance and system repairs are your responsibility.

If you have questions about energy efficiency or how to integrate solar panels into your home energy use, contact Harrison REMC for an informed decision.

Solar infographic