Part 2 BARC’s Community Solar Project in Rockbridge County

In the first part of this group of stories about BARC electric cooperative’s new Community Solar Project, manager for finance and member services, Dave Clinton told us about the facility, or Solar Garden, in Rockbridge County. Now he gives a little information about what exactly solar customers can expect, as the service may grow over the next few years. First he explained, though local residents will not have actual solar panels on their rooftops or in their fields, you can share in the amount of solar energy generated right there west of Lexington close to Interstate 64. Dave Clinton,

“The way we package these subscriptions is in blocks. And a block is 50 kilowatt hours per month. So, if someone subscribes to a block of power from this solar project, what that will mean is the first 50 kilowatt hours that they use every month will be from solar, and the remainder will come from our standard service. For that block of power they pay four dollars and ninety-five cents. But what does that mean? Well, the answer is, that’s one dollar more than they would pay for standard service.”

So, at the same time customers are reducing their carbon footprint, they also may manage their finances a little better too. Dave Clinton explained how some of those longer-term benefits can work.

“It’s our belief, and history has proven this, that standard rates are going up, and have gone up. I think in the last couple of decades they’ve gone up fifty percent. So, it’s likely, and I can’t make projections with certainty, but I think it’s likely that energy costs will rise over the long run. Now lately there’s been a pause, in energy rates, but over the long run they have a tendency to rise and it appears that it may not be too many more years when standard energy rates will surpass this solar rate that we are packaging for our customers. And the fact that we are guaranteeing that rate, four dollars and ninety-five cents per block, and they don’t have any capital outlay, and they don’t have any responsibility for maintenance, we think is a great way to sell solar power to the customers, and to provide them with an opportunity to get solar power.”

For people who are interested, what do they need to do to go about subscribing at BARC?

Again Dave Clinton,

“All right now, this project has a limited amount of subscriptions available. Right now we’re about 75% subscribed. We started letting the subscriptions go earlier this year, about two or three months ago.   So that’s how fast it’s gone. The expectation is, by the time the project is fully constructed, which we believe will be in June, we expect it to be fully subscribed. So if people are interested I would strongly encourage them to call our main number. It’s 800-846-2272, and just simply say, ‘I’m interested in subscribing to the solar project.’ Something that simple will get you to the right person.”

For a final segment on BARC’s new Community Solar project, please stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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