Homeowners in Alabama who are interested in installing a renewable energy system such as solar, wind, or geothermal, or who want to take conservation measures to increase the energy efficiency of their homes, can look to Alabama electric co-ops for financial incentives to help with the cost.
Renewable energy production incentives
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), through its Green Power Switch Generation Partners® Program, offers production incentives to residential and small commercial customers who install a solar photovoltaic or wind turbine system. TVA will purchase 100% of the output of the system at $0.15 per kWh through a participating power distributor in Alabama. For larger commercial customers TVA will purchase the electricity at $0.20 per kWh. The production incentive for larger commercial customers is limited to solar photovoltaic systems.
This production incentive is paid in the form of a credit by the local power distributor on your monthly power bill for your home or business. Payments are guaranteed for 10 years. When your system is first connected to the grid you can receive a rebate payment of $500 to help offset the initial installation costs. This rebate is available until total capacity reaches 150 kW.
To qualify for the production incentive, the solar photovoltaic or wind turbine system must have a minimum output of 500 watts AC, and a maximum capacity of 50 kW. But power distributors can elect to allow larger systems by mutual agreement with the TVA on a case-by-case basis. Your system must comply with the National Electric Code, must be permitted and certified by a licensed electrician, and must pass all applicable local code inspections.
On TVA’s website at www.tva.com/greenpowerswitch there is a list of participating power distributors. If your utility company is not on the list and you are interested in participating in the green power switch program, you should contact the utility company’s representative.
Residential energy efficiency rebate programs
Under the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s Touchstone Energy® Home program you can receive a rebate of $400 per ton for a 1-ton geothermal heat pump and an extra $200 per additional ton up to a maximum of $1,200 for a 5-ton geothermal pump. Dual fuel homes qualify for a rebate of $200 for the whole home plus an additional $200 per ton. You can also qualify for either a free or half-priced energy efficient water heater.
To be eligible for the rebate, your home must qualify as a Touchstone Energy® Home. According to the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, to earn this designation your home, either new or improved, must have an electric water heater and an air-to-air, dual fuel or geothermal heat pump. New homes must have seven of the following features and improved homes must have at least five: R-16 insulation, R-38 ceiling insulation, R-19 floor insulation, attic ventilation, double-pane windows, infiltration control to prevent air leakage, exhaust systems in bathrooms and kitchen, exterior house wrap, heating and cooling ducts located in conditioned space, an energy-efficient water heater, and a high-efficiency electric heat pump.
The Covington Electric Cooperative also offers the rebates available under the Touchstone program, a free electric water heater per heat pump up to two per home, and free underground secondary service up to 200 feet for Touchstone homes.
As part of its Touchstone Energy Home program, the South Alabama Electric Cooperative offers a $200 per ton rebate for duel fuel units and $600 per ton for geothermal heat pumps.
Energy conservation loan program
The South Alabama Electric Cooperative offers an Energy Resource Conservation Loan Program to help members finance the cost of labor and materials for energy conservation measures such as insulation, storm or thermal windows and doors, high efficiency heat pumps, and geothermal heat pumps.
The interest rate on the loan is 5%. The maximum amount of a loan for weatherization improvements is $5,000 with a 48-month term, and $12,000 for a geothermal heat pump with a 60-month term. You can download a loan application from South Alabama Electric Cooperative’s website at www.southaec.com under Products & Services – SAEC Programs – ERC Loan Programs.
Central Alabama Electric Cooperative – Products/Services: www.caec.coop
Covington Electric Cooperative, Inc. – Touchstone Energy Home: www.cov-elect.com
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) – Alabama Homeowner Incentives for Renewable Energy: www.dsireusa.org
South Alabama Electric Cooperative – Products & Services: www.southaec.com
Tennessee Valley Authority – Green Power Switch Generation Partners®: www.tva.com