PEC highlights new services at 5th Hill Country Solar Tour


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Image of solar installer at 2015 PEC Solar Tour in Liberty Hill Texas
Activities at the Co-op’s Liberty Hill office included a solar installer fair, which enabled members to meet with solar installers, ask questions and schedule site inspections. Click photo to enlarge.

More than 360 PEC members and guests attending the Oct. 3 Hill Country Solar Tour learned more about new rate and service offerings coming in 2016. The fifth annual event, sponsored by PEC and the Texas Solar Energy Society, also featured four Williamson County sites utilizing solar installations and a solar installer fair.

The Co-op promoted a new on-bill financing option that will allow members to more easily manage the up-front costs associated with implementing solar technology. The Co-op will service loans of up to $20,000 to both residential and commercial members, with repayment terms up to 10 years and competitive interest rates. The program will be available in early 2016.

PEC also announced upcoming changes to the interconnection process to make it easier and faster for members to interconnect with the Co-op’s system, streamlining the application process via an online portal.

New energy audit services also were announced, with updated technology being made available to PEC conservation representatives. Infrared cameras are being used to show members where heat gain or loss within a home is occurring, and new third-party technology is being implemented to show members the estimated impact of conservation efforts on their electric bills. Co-op conservation representatives are also being trained to recognize and suggest opportunities during energy audits for the use of renewable technology.

“Our goal is to be your trusted advisor,” said PEC Renewable and Distributed Energy Manager Blake Beavers. “We want to help you look through your options, become a trusted resource and do what we can to meet your needs.”

Results of the Co-op’s integrated resource plan and cost-of-service and rates study were also discussed. Ingmar Sterzing, PEC Vice President of Power Supply and Energy Resources, noted that the Lower Colorado River Authority – PEC’s main power provider – has done a good job of bringing its costs down and focusing on operational efficiencies. “We’re seeing that in our cost of power,” Sterzing said. “At the same time, we’re looking at ways to diversify our power supply to introduce more flexible rate options and take advantage of some of the good things out there in the market.”

The Co-op expects to announce new rate options next year as a result of its cost-of-service and rates study, which will see additional feedback opportunities for members in November, both in person and online. PEC expects these new rate options and a change in how fees are structured to benefit members in all rate classes.

Activities at the Co-op’s Liberty Hill office included a solar installer fair, which enabled members to meet with solar installers, ask questions and schedule site inspections. Attendees also found information on conservation tips and learned more about PEC’s interconnection policy.

The 2015 event included two kids solar car workshops, directed by Dr. Gary Vliet, professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. About 30 children assembled cars, then raced them across the PEC office’s parking lot.

For more details about the Hill Country Solar Tour, interconnection or the Co-op’s renewable efforts, visit www.pec.coop.