Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative, CHELCO, officially began its subscriber-supported solar production with a ceremony at their DeFuniak Springs operations center located on Highway 331N. This is the first cooperative solar power system in northwest Florida and south Alabama.
Subscribers, business partners, and local officials attended the ceremony which included a live drone feed of the array and tours of the system.
CHELCO completed installation of 504 solar panels on their operations center roof this month and will begin its first full month of power generation in April. The solar project, called Cooperative Solar, is fully supported through subscriptions. The array will be in service a minimum of 25 years producing an estimated 231,000 kilowatt-hours per year which roughly equates to powering 185 homes.
Subscribers will see their first solar charge and energy credit in their May statement.
Seventy-one members subscribing to 92 blocks contracted for one or five-year terms paying $27.50 or $26 monthly respectively. They will receive credits for the solar energy produced which is anticipated to be an average of 208 kilowatt-hours each month. Participants can expect to pay an average $10 to $11 additional each month on their electric bill after subscription charges are deducted and credits are applied. CHELCO currently maintains a cooperative solar subscription waiting list.
Cooperative solar offers members renewable energy without having to install their own personal systems offering a cost effective means to bring solar power to the community. The installation costs for the community array are estimated at $1.55 per watt compared to $2.25 per watt for a home rooftop array.
CHELCO is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving more than 56,000 accounts in Walton, Okaloosa, Holmes and Santa Rosa counties.