Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 21 NO. 4  -  April 2018

Net Metering or Wellspring?


Wind and solar distributors are painting beautiful pictures around the county on how much energy they can produce and distribute back unto the electric grid, but are they original pictures or copies? When these distributors talk to you (our members), are they considering the location in which we live? Can their systems actually produce the energy they are claiming? They may in more southern areas or areas where testing occurs, but in our area (Northern Minnesota), it is not possible.

During our winter months, darkness and snow-covered panels block the sun preventing them to produce energy. Because of our terrain, wind tests show inefficiencies in the amount of wind needed for good generation. Because of government mandates, North Itasca Electric has a Community Solar sight located 2 miles south of Bigfork on Hwy 38 next to our warehouse and Substation. This sight is a 20 KW system with an additional 6 KW were members wishing to purchase panels are able to do so. The energy generated from this additional 6 KW add-on is credited to those members which purchased them, showing up on their electric bills.

To get an idea of the amount of energy North Itasca Electric’s 20 KW community solar delivers to the distribution line, actual monthly readings are shown below from the months of July to December.

20 KW Community Solar Array 2017

July reading - 1240 kWh
August reading –1084 kWh
September reading – 799 kWh
October reading – 602 kWh
November reading – 166 kWh
December reading – 48 kWh

The energy produced during these 6 months (July – December) total 3,939 kWh. This is less than the average usage of one members each month. Even with July producing considerably more energy, the numbers are not very high. With members average house hold consumption being between 800 and 1200 kWh per month, even our 20 KW array could not supply enough energy for even one home with it needs.

I am not writing this article to draw a negative light on Wind and Solar, but to give members the facts and what they could expect from a system if they wish to install one at their home.

Wellspring – a good alternative!

What is Wellspring? Wellspring is a program for those wishing to receive energy generated from wind (and or) solar. It is not a program to reduce your energy bills, but for those wanting to reduce their carbon footprint. Those signed up for this program purchase renewable energy instead of that produced from fossil Fuels or coal. Wellspring guarantees the energy they consume comes from Wind or solar.

If interested in the Wellspring program, see the Wellspring page under "Services," give us a call or fill out the Wellspring form that's listed under "Forms" on the website.

Return to the April 2018 Issue