(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Nov. 9, 2021) – In 2020, The City of Stillwater created the Renewable Energy Task Force to research and advise City Council on initiatives to establish clean energy goals and benchmarks.
City Council revised and adopted the “Distributed Generation” policy in early 2021. The policy reduces costs that were previously associated when switching to renewable energy options, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
While the initial installation expense of solar panels may be considered costly, the monthly utility cost are less. Some residents also believe the change is helpful to the environment.
“The cost of installing residential solar panels has dropped 27% in the last 7 years. Additionally, there is a 26% Federal solar tax credit currently available. The payoff period will be rapid, thanks to these changes,” said Henri Uehara, Renewable Energy Task Force member.
Before the policy changes, Stillwater used a pricing system often referred to as, “Buy All Sell All.” Which means, when solar panels are installed on the residence and hooked up to the grid, the customer may sell 100% of the solar output to the grid and buy 100% of the energy usage from Stillwater Electric Utility. The “grid” is the infrastructure that delivers electricity to the home, which includes all hardware, software, maintenance, and customer support with the electricity service. For example, residential customers currently pay a $9.80 per month charge plus a cost for each kWh of electricity used.
Under the new policy, if you have solar panels on your home, you will pay approximately $0.030-$0.040 per kWh used instead of the higher retail price of $0.107 that would be charged for a non-energy producing home.
In addition to the $9.80 customer charge that every residential customer pays, an energy-producing residential customer will also pay a monthly service availability fee of $42 that covers the costs of service.
“This is great news,” said Uehara. “When it’s all calculated, if your monthly bill is over $51.80 per month, or about 400 kWh, then having solar panels makes sense.”
The average energy use in Stillwater for a residential customer is 960 kWh. If the customer does not have solar panels, the cost of this electricity would be approximately $115 per month. If the customer does have solar panels, the cost would be approximately $65 per month.
“If a person creates too much electricity with their solar panels, they automatically sell it back to grid,” said Uehara. “But it’s more likely that a solar system will only supply part of the electricity needed, so the grid is how the rest of the electricity gets to your home.”
Solar panels may benefit those who own an electric vehicle because they can charge their vehicles using renewable power and pay approximately $1/100 miles instead of $3/100 miles.
The task force believes the policy is a step in the right direction. The group continues to explore other options for establishing clean and renewable energy by 2050 and will present their plan to City Council in January 2022.
For inquiries, contact Dawn Jones, PIO, Communications Department at (405) 742-8214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.