What is rooftop solar?
Rooftop solar allows individuals to harness the energy from the sun to power some or all of their home or business. Systems are generally sized by the location's typical usage but other factors such as shading, direction, and location of where the system is being installed, can play a big role in a system’s potential output.
Sometimes, you may also see rooftop solar referred to as Distributed Generation or DG. When electricity is produced at or near where it is being used, it is called Distributed Generation (DG). Distributed solar energy is typically located on rooftops and can be used by both residential and commercial properties and is connected to a local utility distribution.
How does solar work?
- Solar energy is produced by the sun. When the sun shines onto solar panels, the energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the cells in the solar panel.
- Then solar cells (also known as photovoltaic cells) convert this sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.
- The inverter then converts the electricity from DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what your home and the electrical grid use.
- From there, the energy that has been produced has three avenues to be consumed:
- If battery storage is present, the energy is stored until it is needed.
- The energy is consumed by your home to power appliances and other electronics.
- Unused energy is sent back to the grid to be used elsewhere.
- Because your home uses the energy produced by your solar panels first and then gets the remaining energy needs from the connected distribution utility (CoServ), we are not able to see actual production by the solar panels or what the total usage is.
- CoServ only measures electricity that comes from the grid (delivered) and from the solar panels onto the grid (received). The amount received is the excess electricity sold to the grid and is what CoServ Members are compensated for each month.
What is Rooftop Potential?
The orientation of the structure and roof size will determine the amount of solar that could be installed on a rooftop.
A typical south-facing solar system in North Texas with full sun exposure will produce approximately 1,533 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year for every 1 kilowatt (kW) of system capacity.
|DC System Size (kW)||Estimated Annual Production (kWh)|
West- and east-facing systems will produce about 15 to 20 percent less, respectively. North-facing systems will produce over 40 percent less.
Myth: With a PV system I won't need power from the utility.
Fact: For most customers, solar is a great way to help offset consumption and when installed in the proper direction and working at peak output the need for the utility will be less but, in most cases, you will still need some power from the utility.
What is solar plus storage?
Battery storage has become an increasingly popular add-on. It allows for a solar system to store excess produced energy and use it at times when a standard system without battery storage would not be able to, such as at nighttime or when your power goes out. Ask your solar installer if they offer battery storage options.
How does installing solar work with CoServ?
Whether you are simply researching solar panels or in the process of installing, CoServ wants to help by answering any questions you may have. As your trusted energy advisor, we encourage our Members to reach out and speak to one of our trained Energy Specialists.
CoServ’s Process for Solar Installations:
- Contact CoServ’s Energy Efficiency Team
- The application for Distributed Generation will need to be filled out by the contractor completing the work
- After the application is submitted, within 15 days the contractor will receive pre-approval to begin construction or a request to make a change.
- Once installation is complete and your contractor has notified CoServ via email at [email protected], CoServ will come out to the property to inspect the system within 2 to 4 weeks. At that time, they will request for the meter to be programmed to a bi-directional meter.
- At this point, your system and meter are ready to start receiving and sending solar energy!
Need help in finding a trusted solar installer? Let us help! CoServ has a thorough vetting process when it comes to selecting installers for our Certified Installer program. Unlike our Members who likely have never had to deal with a solar company before, we’ve been working with our certified installers for years and have built a trusted relationship with them. We receive no financial incentives from these companies when recommending them to you. We simply believe that they will perform quality work and are well informed on CoServ’s solar policies and rates.
- Look at our Solar Rate here.
- Find out more by visiting our solar installations page here.
- List of Certified Solar Installers: (PDF)
Myths and Facts
Myth: With solar, I will never get an electric bill
Fact: Installing solar panels can help reduce your electric bill but without battery storage they will not produce enough power for your home to use 24 hours a day. However, with our new Distributive Generation with Buyback policy, it is possible, yet not common, to offset enough consumption to receive a $0 or negative bill. There are months where you may have enough credit to offset your bill, but not likely every month and there are always exceptions depending on system sizing and consumption habits.
Myth: With solar, my power won’t go out during an outage.
Fact: Solar requires an inverter to convert the solar energy from direct current to alternating current so it can be used in the home. The inverter is powered by the grid so the solar system will not operate during an outage unless your home has a backup battery storage system.
Myth: I will get a quick return on investment.
Fact: There are a lot of factors at play (for example, the size of the system, cost, the home's energy consumption and the efficiency of the system) but with today’s cost, it could take many years to get a return on your investment.
Yes. Solar systems can also be mounted on the ground.
CoServ does not currently offer any solar financing programs. Please consult with your installer and/or financial institution regarding financing options.
Once CoServ receives the notification of completion from your installer, we try to inspect and program the meter within two weeks. However, some systems may take up to 4 weeks. The following reasons could lead to an extended wait time:
- CoServ was not previously made aware of the solar installation
- The installation did not pass our final inspection and needs to be installed per the specifications of the Distributed Generation (DG) Manual (PDF)
- An unexpected increase in solar system installation
Yes, CoServ’s Solar Savings Rate is a great way to go solar without having solar panels. Launched in March 2021, this rate program offers 100 percent renewable energy without the long-term commitment and upfront cost required with physical solar panels. It’s also perfect for townhomes and apartments.
The rate itself is also competitive with CoServ’s Standard Residential Rate.
CoServ has its own solar that’s generated at the CoServ Solar Station, a 2-megawatt solar farm near Krugerville. CoServ also buys 52 megawatts of power from the massive Lapetus Solar Project in far West Texas.
CoServ knows that many of its customers are interested in installing solar panels on their homes.
We want to help customers make informed decisions by providing a list of solar installers that CoServ believes will perform quality work in an ethical manner at a fair price.