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Solar

Solar cells on a roof with sun flowers in the foreground

Customers wishing to install solar panels on their home or business should email solar@btutilities.com or call 979-821-5772 to speak with a member of our staff regarding the required Distributed Generation (DG) Agreement, net metering policy, and technical requirements for connection to the BTU system. Customers are required to have a signed agreement with BTU prior to the installation of panels.

Please email all solar installation plans/drawings and signed DG agreements to solar@btutilities.com.

 

Installation Process

BTU inspection payments should be submitted to:

Bryan Texas Utilities
C/O Energy Management
PO Box 1000
Bryan, TX 77805

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar

Does BTU offer any incentives or rebates for solar?
There are currently no incentives or rebates for solar through BTU.

Does BTU affiliate with any solar installers or have a recommendation for who to use?
BTU does not partner with any one company and cannot make suggestions for who to use as your installer. We do recommend that customers do their due diligence in researching solar installation companies when considering a solar installation and/or signing a contract.

Is there a limit on how large of a system I can install?
Customers are allowed to install a system at the size of their choosing. Any customer wishing to install a system over 100 kW will need to contact BTU for the requirements and metering information.

Are there requirements for how my solar system is designed?
Yes, BTU has a one line diagram that shows how a solar system needs to be installed in order to interconnect to our electric system. BTU also requires that the solar design be approved by our engineering staff prior to installation. For a copy of the one line diagram, and to submit your plans for approval, email solar@btutilities.com.

What will I get paid for selling energy back on the grid?
BTU pays solar customers with a generation capacity of less than 100 kW for kWh at the current fuel rate (approximately $0.03/kWh). This will show as a credit on the customer’s bill.

Why doesn’t BTU pay the retail rate for excess generation?
BTU is a not-for-profit utility and has cost of service based rates, meaning the rates are designed to cover the utility’s cost to serve customers. BTU’s rate for kWh includes expenses beyond the price of energy, such as operational costs of the utility and transmission costs. To ensure that a fair price is being paid to solar customers, without becoming an expense to other non-solar customers, BTU does not pay back at the retail rate.

Are there any fees associated with installing solar in the BTU service territory?
An inspection of your solar installation by BTU is required prior to interconnection with the BTU electrical distribution system. The fee for this inspection is $240, which covers the cost incurred by BTU. Any additional inspections that may be required to approve needed corrections to the installation are also billed to the customer at a rate of $240. BTU is not responsible for issuing any construction permits for your installation; customers should work with their installer or local government for information on required permits.

Can I store any credits I have on my account and apply them to high bills in the future?
Your solar generation will be displayed on your BTU bill as a line item, and will be credited towards the total amount owed that month for energy that BTU has delivered to you. Should you generate enough electricity to cover your consumption, and still have a credit on your account, that credit will continue to roll over on your account until it is either used to pay for your consumption, or until it is paid out in the form of a check.

How often will BTU write me a check for a credit I have on my solar account?
The frequency of paying out credits will depend on the size of the credit and the agreed upon timeframe between BTU and the customer.

 

BTU’s Solar Arrays

SolarArrayHeader

BTU has installed 2 solar “flower petal” design arrays on the front lawn of the BTU building. Each array has 8 panels and can generate up to 1.4 kilowatts (kW) or 1400 watts (W) of electricity and they stand 16 ft. tall. The arrays absorb the sun’s radiant energy to generate electricity which is fed into the BTU electric grid. One of the arrays tracks, or follows, the sun throughout the day so it is in the best position to absorb sunlight all day long. The other array is in a fixed position and does not track the sun.

Solar Arrays Details

The two solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays located on the front lawn of the BTU Utility Building have a total generating capacity of 2.8 kilowatts (kW). Each array is a 1.4 kW flower petal solar design which has 8 BP brand solar panels (model BP 4175B) and each one has an inverter so the electricity generated can be fed into and used in the Utility Building. All equipment is mounted on an 8” diameter steel pole which is buried six feet and set in concrete. (You can see several photos below of the construction process.)

The arrays are engineered to withstand wind speeds of 90 mph which is the official wind speed load for construction in our area. The PV panels are polycrystalline photovoltaic panels, which have been manufactured and used for more than 40 years. The brand of panels is BP Solar which was previously the Solarex company. Solarex began manufacturing solar panels in 1973. BP Solar is one of the very few companies that has been in business longer than the 25-year industry-standard solar panel warranty.

The arrays are identical except for one feature. The array closest to the drive-through lanes near 28th St. tracks the sun throughout the day as the Earth rotates. The tracking system is a Wattsun model AZ-125 and utilizes a dual-axis so the maximum sunlight is absorbed by the panels.

Because the electricity generated from the arrays is direct current (DC), an inverter must be used to convert this to alternating current (AC) for use in home appliances or to tie to the electric grid. The inverter is a Xantrex model 2.8-GT inverter.

For more information on all of the equipment used in our arrays, you can view the manufacturer’s equipment specifications here.

It is our hope that the arrays will serve as a teaching and learning opportunity for the community, and promote renewable energy practices because BTU is very involved in the renewable energy market.

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