Solar “Garden” is a Good Idea for Our Co-op Community

Solar “Garden” is a Good Idea for Our Co-op Community

The holidays are nearly upon us, so it may seem an odd time to think about a garden growing in the sun.

But that’s just we’re doing at HomeWorks. We’re moving forward with the first phase of a community solar project, or garden, at our Portland Operations Center.

“Why community, and why solar?”, you may ask.

We’ve had many members contact us about solar (photovoltaic) projects for their homes or businesses. Only a few have had the right combination of site, technical knowledge, and available funds to make those plans a reality.

We have the right site, along with access to both expertise and funding, to put a project together. And it makes sense for us to take this step, since we’ve promoted solar energy through geothermal heating and cooling for many years.

By making it a community project, open to our members to invest in and take advantage of, we all win!

This first phase will include a number of photovoltaic panels. The way similar gardens have worked for other co-ops is this: each member has the opportunity to lease a panel. We’re aiming for a net cost of around $500 after an Energy Optimization rebate of $75.

The output from a member’s panel would be metered and used here at Portland. Participating members would then get a bill credit for the power generated by their panel, at our purchased power cost.

Our planning is based on panels with a capacity of 290 watts, estimated to produce an average of 28 kilowatt hours per month. It’s not a large amount, but it will add up to pay for the panel in about 20 years, possibly sooner.

There are a lot of questions to be answered, from the supplier of the panels and their source, to the actual dollar amounts involved. But our first question is: are you interested?

If you are, we invite you to let us know now. We’re starting a mailing list to identify interested members, who would also have the first opportunity to be part of this exciting new project. Please contact Nick Rusnell at 517-647-1247, or email to add your name to the list; there is no commitment at this time.

And whether you’d like to be an active participant or not, be sure to watch Country Lines, our website, and our Facebook page for updates.


Speaking of the holidays, the HomeWorks family sends our best wishes to your families. Our employees - whether they’re full- or part-time, working from Blanchard or Portland, in the office or the field - work very hard to make sure you get the best service possible.

So we’ve featured them in this issue. We hope you enjoy “meeting” them on the following pages as much as you enjoy the results of their hard work.

Happy holidays from HomeWorks!

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