So you’re thinking about installing solar panels on your roof, but you have some questions. Access Energy Cooperative can help.

As with any other major purchase, it’s vital that consumers research their options carefully. Here are a few facts you should know.

Consumers should know, for example, that even houses with large solar arrays still need the utility. When PV panels are not supplying enough power for your home, the electric grid makes up the difference, and when the panels are producing more electricity than needed, the excess goes back to the grid.

Because the sun doesn’t shine at night, and some days are cloudy, almost all consumers will still rely on the electric grid unless they have backup power from a generator or battery. And if the power goes out, for safety reasons – the solar system will disconnect to prevent power from feeding back onto lines being repaired.

The cost of photovoltaic (PV) panels has dropped dramatically in the past few years, but this price reduction doesn’t mean residential rooftop solar makes sense for everyone. Some houses have too much shade, which is great for saving money on air-conditioning – but bad for solar. Some roofs face north or do not have sufficient flat space to install solar panels.

We have recently conducted a survey of our membership, to explore your attitudes toward solar energy production. The board and management are in the process of evaluating the results and applying them to decisions to be made on whether or not we will proceed with offering any type of a community solar project to you. A utility-owned solar array can provide more electricity at a cost that is almost always cheaper than a residential system.

Also, by participating in utility-owned solar, homeowners can avoid the headache of installing a new electrical system on the roof. Nor do they need to worry about the safety of such systems.

Whatever you choose, Access Energy Cooperative can help you make a decision that makes the most sense for you.