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Yes, the City offers the EcoSmart Choice program to all customers. The EcoSmart Choice program allows the customer to add an additional charge on their monthly electric bill which is used to purchase Renewable Energy Certificate’s (RECs). A REC is created when a renewable energy resource produces energy and the REC is sold into the REC market. By purchasing RECs, the customer is directly supporting renewable energy resources.
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About 40% of the energy delivered to all Bowling Green customers comes from a renewable resource (wind, solar, or hydro). As a comparison, 3% of generation in the State of Ohio came from a renewable resource in 2019 and 19% of generation in the United States came from a renewable resource in 2020. By law, the Board of Public Utilities and the Utilities Department is responsible for serving the electric needs of our entire community. Since the mid-1990's, Bowling Green has contracted to purchase energy from multiple generating projects.
Bowling Green has been a leader throughout the region in diversifying the sources of that electricity from traditional generating resources. When a customer installs rooftop solar, it is possible that the rooftop solar will offset a portion of the City's renewable energy resources. A customer's rooftop solar energy does not alleviate the City's obligation to purchase energy from other power supply contracts.
Yes, but customers must first meet eligibility criteria and review/complete an Interconnection Application (PDF), and the subsequent Interconnection Agreement and Certificate of Completion with the City of Bowling Green Utilities Office.
The first step is for the customer to complete the Interconnection Application (PDF) and Interconnection Agreement. The Utilities Department will analyze the potential impact of the Customer's Generation Facility on the Electric Distribution System and on other electric customers. Such analysis will be based on prudent utility practice to determine safety measures, voltage ranges, power quality, system stability, impact to the distribution system, etc.
Customers in the City of Bowling Green will also need to complete an Application for Zoning Certificate (PDF) with the City's Planning Department.
After the Interconnection Application and Interconnection Agreement have been approved by the Utilities Department, the customer can install the rooftop solar system. Once the rooftop solar system is installed, the Customer will then submit a Certificate of Completion before energizing the rooftop solar system. After the Utility has approved the Certificate of Completion, the Customer can energize and interconnect the rooftop solar system to the Utilities Electric Distribution System.
Yes. Credit for excess generation, as defined in the Interconnection Standards (PDF), from an approved Customer generation facility shall be at the Utility’s avoided power supply cost rate as determined by the Board of Public Utilities. The credit for excess generation shall be in the form of a monthly credit to the Customer’s utility account. The current rate for the credit can be found in the Electric Rate Schedule (PDF). The City will typically utilize a bi-directional meter to measure the flow of electricity in both directions. The kilowatts per hour that the customer delivers to the City will be used to calculate the credit.
Yes, the City's electric system will be available to supply a portion or all of a customer's energy needs at any time of the day. The City will typically utilize a bi-directional meter to measure the flow of electricity in both directions. The kilowatts per hour that the City delivers to the customer will be used to calculate the customers usage and will be billed at the applicable retail rate.
Yes, customers will still be charged per their current retail rate, however Rider E Renewable Parallel Generation of the Electric Rate Schedules (PDF) will also be applicable. Rider E includes a monthly facilities charge that is based on the kilowatt capacity of the solar installation, and battery if applicable.
As a public power utility, the City of Bowling Green operates a not-for-profit electric utility. Most of the Utilities Department's expenses are fixed costs, meaning the expenses don't change much based on a customer's usage. The City's electric rates are based on a Cost of Service Study that examines all of the expenses to provide the electrical needs of our community. The expenses include, but are not limited to, power supply contracts, transmission and capacity obligations, the cost of infrastructure such as electric poles, lines, and transformers, and finally, the cost to ensure our staff and equipment are available and equipped to respond to electrical issues anywhere in the city at a moment's notice, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The rates that are charged to customers are designed for full-service requirement customers (a customer that purchases all of their energy needs from the City). In this way, the City ensures that our expenses are equitably collected from each customer based on their use of the electric system. The Cost of Service Study is the best way to ensure that the customer charges are fair and equitable.
When a customer installs rooftop solar, they become a partial-service requirement customer. This means that the customer does not purchase all of their energy needs from the City because they are offsetting some or all of their energy needs with their own generating system. The customer relies on the City to provide all of their electric service at any given time but they do not pay the same costs as a full-service requirement customer. The customer also depends upon the City's electric distribution system in order to receive a credit for their excess generation.
The Monthly Facilities Charge is necessary to recover the unavoidable fixed expenses mentioned above that are incurred by the City. Again, these costs include system maintenance, transformers, debt service, capital improvements, power supply, transmission, capacity, buildings, equipment, and labor. Without this additional charge, non-generating customers subsidize the electric service for generating customers. Details about the Facilities Charge can be found in Rider E
A residential customer installs a 5 kilowatt (kW) customer-owned renewable resource generator in the form of rooftop solar panels. After July 1, 2021, this resident will be charged a Local Facilities Charge of $5 per month ($1 per kW × 5kW). This charge will increase over the next four years, making it easier for current rooftop solar customers to adjust. At full implementation (in year 2024), the rate will be $4 per kW AC and the customer would pay $20 per month for the charge.
Yes, a battery system can be installed with a rooftop solar system. When calculating the Monthly Facilities Charge, the kilowatt (kW) size of the battery will be added to the kW size of the generator to get the total kW capacity of the entire system. This is because the battery system further impacts the City's cost recovery of unavoidable fixed expenses.
In the previous example, if a customer installed a 2kW battery system with the 5kW rooftop solar generator, the total system capacity would be 7kW and the Monthly Facilities Charge would be ($1 per kW × 7kW) $7 per month in 2021.