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REC announces Community Solar project

By Brittany Tann

REC Public Relations

AHOSKIE – Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) has announced plans to bring a community-shared solar farm to the Aulander community.

How will this work? The community solar farm will be located on a half-acre of land next to the cooperative’s headquarters on NC 561 west of Ahoskie, and it will host 320 panels available for purchase by REC members.

“A community solar farm is going to offer many advantages to our cooperative members,” said Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative.

Educating cooperative members is a key driving force behind this project.

“Our members have shown considerable interest in embracing renewable energy,” Wynn stated. “This community solar farm will give them that chance, and it will also be a valuable educational tool to see the challenges and opportunities of incorporating solar energy,” he continued

REC realizes there are certain barriers, like home location, renting versus owning and installation costs that have made it challenging for members to embrace renewable energy. A community solar farm eliminates these barriers and opens up renewable energy as an option for everyone.

”We realize that the challenges that are unique to our region may hinder many of our members’ entry into the renewable energy realm,” Wynn added.  “We remain committed to making sure all forms of affordable electricity are available to our members and being the trusted source of information from which they can draw to make informed energy-related decisions.”

Panels will be available for members to purchase as early as February 2015. The plan is to allow members to purchase panels on a first come, first served basis until all panels have been purchased.

The exact cost per panel for members isn’t yet known.  However, early estimates of purchasing a panel are anticipated to be around $450.

“REC is excited to be in a position to allow our members to invest in solar energy with very little upfront investment,” Wynn concluded.

Site preparation and construction of the solar farm will begin in mid-December.  REC also plans to host a ribbon cutting ceremony to showcase this project to the community in January 2015.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative is an electric utility providing service to 14,000 people in Bertie, Hertford, Halifax, Northampton, Gates, Perquimans and Chowan Counties.  To learn more about the numerous exciting initiatives they have on tap, please visit www.roanokeelectric.com/thecall2018.