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    Solar FAQs

    Andes Solar Solar FAQs
    General solar questions
    How do solar panels produce energy?

    Solar cells, also called photovoltaic cells, convert sunlight directly into electricity. Photovoltaics “PV” gets its name from the process of converting light to electricity , which is called the photovoltaic effect. PV materials and devices convert sunlight into electrical energy. A single PV device is known as a cell. An individual PV cell is usually small; it typically is sized at about 1 or 2 Watts. To increase the power output of PV cells, the cells are connected in chains to form larger units known as modules or panels. Modules can be used individually, or several can be connected to form arrays. One or more arrays is then connected to the electrical grid as  a  PV system. Because of this modular structure, PV systems can be built to meet almost any electrical energy output, small or large. Today, electrical energy from solar cells has become cost competitive in many regions and PV systems are being deployed at large scales to help power the electric grid. 

     

    Information sourced from NREL and DOE.

    How much energy does a system generate?

    The amount of kWh produced by solar panels is dependent on factors such as shading, direction of solar panels, and weather. A general solar production estimate for a rooftop solar system in Indiana (with a 15% capacity factor) is approximately 1,300 kilowatt hours (“kWh”) per year for every kW. Therefore, an average of 108 kWh per month, per kW installed. There is more solar production in summer months than winter. However, a solar installer should provide production expectations in a quote.

    What is the typical payback for rooftop solar?

    There are several factors that determine the payback period for solar panels.  In order to better understand specific project economics, there are tools like Project Sunroof that you can reference. 

    What factors affect payback for a solar system?

    Factors include shading of the location, overall system size, installation (self install or contractor) costs, inverter costs, utility rate tariffs, pitch of the roof (if rooftop solar), and financing options.

     

    AES Indiana customers may be eligible for credits for self-generation. Please see additional information at www.aesindiana.com/rates-tariffs

     

    AES Indiana commercial and industrial customers should consider whether their electric service rate includes a charge for demand (kW). Solar panels may have no impact on monthly demand, since there are periods of darkness, storms, or otherwise low production from solar panels. In addition, solar power can have a negative impact on the overall Power Factor for that service. More information can be found under “Billing Impact, Customer Generation Eligibility and Other Information" at www.aesindiana.com/rates-tariffs

     

     

    Does the direction of the solar panel matter?

    Yes. Southern facing panels will receive the most amount of sunlight for stationary panels. Single axis and two axis sun tracking follow a SE to SW motion.

    Will solar or other renewable generation keep my power on during an outage?

    Not typically without advanced equipment. Solar inverters shut down when connection to the grid is lost. There are commercially available inverters that include battery backups, and these may be used in backup power mode to help keep power on during an outage.

    If I install solar or wind, do I still need power from the utility?

    Yes, for 24/7 reliability, typical renewable generation systems still require grid connectivity.  Wind and solar vary in their output during the day and matching generation with energy consumption is not possible without special equipment. Customers with systems up to 1 MW in size may qualify for AES Indiana's net metering rate, which is approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

    Billing impact, customer generation eligibility and other information
    Does AES Indiana sell solar or other renewable energy systems door to door?

    No, AES Indiana does not currently sell or market energy systems door to door. AES Indiana employees do not sell solar installations door to door. AES Indiana employees may visit your home to perform maintenance, turn a meter on or off or perform home energy audits; however, those visits are preceded by a phone call, door hanger or other communication. AES Indiana employees will arrive in a company vehicle clearly marked with an AES Indiana logo. If someone claims to work for the company, ask to see their employee badge. If you are uncomfortable, do not let the person in your home. Contact AES Indiana to confirm the person is a legitimate company representative there to perform expected work.

    Does AES Indiana contract with solar companies to sell energy systems?

    No, AES Indiana does not contract with, nor affiliate with solar companies to sell energy systems to customers.
    AES Indiana does not hire, contract, endorse or partner with any specific solar companies. Although AES Indiana works with customers to connect solar installations to the grid, we are not involved with their sale or installation. Additionally, AES Indiana is not liable for or bound to any contract or agreement between you and a solar company. If you are concerned about a company or representative claiming to work with AES Indiana, call us directly to speak with a legitimate AES Indiana representative.
    To be eligible to receive Rider 16 Excess Distributed Generation (“Rate EDG”) compensation for excess distributed generation, you will need to complete an interconnection application and sign an interconnection agreement.

    Who is eligible?

    AES Indiana offers net metering to eligible customers who have installed eligible net metering energy resources up to 1 MW in size, or other emerging renewable energy technologies the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission determines appropriate with an approved interconnection agreement.

    What types of generators are eligible for Rate EDG?

    All UL 1741 listed inverter-based generation that is renewable energy resource as defined in Indiana Code (IC 8-1-37-4(a)(1) through IC 8-1-37-4(a)(8)). Typically, this is solar or wind generation.

    What size system should I get?

    A customer-owned generating facility should be used primarily to offset all or part of the net metering customer's own annual electricity requirements.

    Does AES Indiana offer financial incentives or rebates for installing renewable energy systems on my property?

    AES Indiana customers with applicable generating systems can participate in Rate EDG.

    How do solar panels impact the bill for a commercial service on a demand rate (SL, PL, HL)?

    Solar produces energy during daylight hours, with higher output on clear sunny days and lower output on cloudy or stormy days. After sundown there is minimal energy output. During these low energy production times some, if not all, of the facility’s power will come from the utility.  For services on a rate that includes demand charges, solar panels are not expected to materially lower the monthly peak demand unless customers stop operations during periods of low solar production. Peak demand is calculated using the average of the top three 15-minute intervals in a month.
    Customers with services that have widely varying demand also need to be aware of ratcheting – this is the practice of charging no less than 60% of the peak billing demand for the past 11 months. If a customer's calculated peak demand for a billing period is below the established ratchet, the customer will be billed according to the demand ratchet amount.
    Demand rates also have an adjustment for Power Factor (PF). This is a credit for PF over 85% and a charge for PF under 85%. Solar panels only generate active power, but customers also need reactive power if they use energy to run motors. This results in a much lower PF with solar than without solar.
    More information can be found at www.aesindiana.com/rates-tariffs

    Connecting your system
    How do I get started?

    To connect a generating facility to the AES Indiana system, you must first submit an interconnection application.

    Is there special equipment required?

    Wind and solar sites generate power through an inverter. Inverters connecting to the AES Indiana system must be compliant with IEEE 1547-2018 and UL 1741 certified. For these installations, after receiving an interconnection application approved by AES Indiana and an interconnection agreement signed by the customer, AES Indiana will install a bi-directional meter.

    What does it cost to apply to connect a small-scale renewable generation system to the grid?

    Level 1 applications have no fees. A Level 1 generator facility is 10 kW or less. Level 2 applications have a fee of $50 + $1/kW. A Level 2 generator facility is greater than 10 kW and less than 2 MW.

    When do I submit my solar application to AES Indiana?

    You can submit an application at any time. If you are working with a solar installation company, they typically will assist in completing and submitting an application on your behalf. Applications are processed on a first come first serve basis, so AES Indiana encourages applications are submitted as early as possible. For more information on interconnection review processes, see 170 IAC 4-4.3-6 and 170 IAC 4-4.3-7.

    I want to upgrade my current solar system. Do I have to resubmit a solar application?

    If you are upgrading your system, you will need to submit a new application.

    Billing and credits for Rate EDG customers
    How does AES Indiana’s Rider 16 Excess Distributed Generation rate (“Rate EDG”) work?

    Rate EDG allows customers to offset their billed usage by receiving a financial credit for any excess generation from their distributed generation resource. Customers can self-supply their load and receive a credit for any excess under this program. The credit rate is updated annually and is currently set at 4.995 cents per kWh sent back to AES Indiana. In a given month, a customer taking service under Rate EDG would be billed at standard tariff rates for any usage and would receive a credit at the stated rate that would be applied to the billed usage.

    How long with I receive Rate EDG credits? Do credits roll over?

    The EDG credit balance is carried forward indefinitely, for as long as a customer elects to participate in Rate EDG and receives retail electric service from AES Indiana at the premises. If a customer ends service at the premises, all unused credits shall revert back to AES Indiana. EDG credit balances are not transferable to another account or service. For customers under AES Indiana’s Rate EDG rate, the net kWh will be multiplied by the Rate EDG and credited on the bill cost summary of the bill.

    How is my Budget Bill impacted once I install solar?

    As a new solar customer, you may consider un-enrolling from Budget Billing for the first 6 to 12 months after installing your solar system. Your Budget Bill amount is based off the previous 12 months of usage, which is your usage data prior to installing solar. As a solar customer, it is anticipated your grid usage will decrease, and therefore your monthly bill amount similarly will decrease. Once there are consecutive months of usage data including solar system impacts, then it may make sense to re-enroll in Budget Billing for a more accurate monthly bill amount. If you’d like to un-enroll or re-enroll in Budget Billing, log into your aesindiana.com account or call AES Indiana Customer Service at 317-261-8222. 

    For existing Net-Metering customers who had qualified for Net-Metering prior to June 30, 2022
    How does AES Indiana’s Rider 9 Net Metering "work"?

    A customer’s bill will reflect the amount of AES Indiana usage for the billing period as well as the excess on-site generation for the same billing period. The monthly volumetric charges will then be based on the net energy usage (energy consumed from AES Indiana less excess customer-owned power supplied). If there is excess generation beyond the AES Indiana usage for the month, that energy will be reflected as a kWh credit to be used in future months. Such kWh credits cannot be transferred to another service or customer. The credit shall roll over indefinitely for net metering customers, except that when the net metering customer elects to no longer participate in the net metering tariff, all unused credit shall revert to the investor-owned electric utility. Learn more about your net metering bill.

    How long will I receive net metered credits?

    As defined in IC 8-1-40 et seq, net metering eligible systems installed before 1/1/2018 may receive net metering credits until 7/1/2047. Net metering systems installed after 12/31/2017 and before 7/1/2022 may receive net metering credits until 7/1/2032. Eligible distributed generation systems after 6/30/2022 will not be eligible for net metering but will be eligible for Rate EDG).

    What is current net metering capacity installed on AES Indiana’s system?

    As of December 31, 2021, AES Indiana’s total installed net metered private generation capacity was 8.5 MW. Click here to review the full 2021 YE report.

    If I generate more power than I use in a month and I am a Rider 9 Net metering customer, do the credits roll over to the next month?

    Net metering credits will roll over indefinitely (i.e., continuously from month to month and year to year), except that when the net metering customer elects to no longer participate in the net metering tariff, all unused credit shall revert to the investor-owned electric utility.

    Customers with their own generating systems typically experience lower net electrical energy usage from the grid. Under AES Indiana’s Net Metering rate, the net kWh (electrical energy consumed from AES Indiana less excess customer-owned electrical energy supplied) will be recorded for purposes of billing. Also, for purposes of billing, negative net kWh will be considered to be zero kWh. Negative net kWh will be carried forward as a credit to the next billing month. Participating customers are still billed the monthly customer charge, even if there is a zero energy charge.

    Moving in / moving out of a home with solar panels participating in Net Metering or Rate EDG programs
    I am selling my house and I have banked net metering credits. Is it transferable to my new house or to the new homeowner?

    No. Banked credits are not transferable.

    I recently purchased a house with a solar system already installed and functioning. Is there anything I need to do?

    Yes. While the system may be functioning, you will not be set up to receive credit for the excess generation until you execute an interconnection agreement. Please contact ipl.interconnection@aes.com with your name and address and we will help you complete a new interconnection agreement.

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