USDA REDA Assessments
SOPEC is excited to be the first and only Ohio recipient of the USDA REDA grant, with $100,000 in funding from the USDA to help local small businesses and farms develop energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. As a result, SOPEC is excited to partner with UpGrade Ohio to find projects that make sense for our local farmers and business owners, and offer simple financing plans with large energy savings and quick payback periods from lower utility bills. UpGrade Ohio staff will work with local small business owners and agricultural producers to discuss their energy needs and utility bills, and see if investment into energy efficiency improvements or renewable generation under the USDA REAP grant makes sense for their business. If your small business or farm is located in a SOPEC community, you can visit UpGrade Ohio here to learn more and learn how to receive a free project site assessment to apply for USDA REAP grant and loan guarantee support.
Occasional storms and heat waves, as well as periodic power plant repairs and maintenance, have the potential to affect Ohio’s supply and demand for electricity. When demand is high and supply is short, power interruptions can sometimes be the result. Demand Response programs are designed to enable customers to contribute to energy load reduction during reduction events (times of critical peak demand) in exchange for financial incentives ($27,000/MWh reduced). Reduction events are rare and are only called when the stress on the electric grid is significant, and demand response customers may continue their operations uninterrupted through temporary on-site generation. Demand response programs are designed to be both fiscally and environmentally responsible ways to respond to occasional and temporary peak demand periods. The programs offer incentives to governments and businesses that volunteer and participate by temporarily reducing their electricity use when demand could outpace supply.
Municipal Street Lighting
Southeast Ohio villages, cities, townships, and counties often face major utility expenses for providing street lighting in their communities. However, it can often be challenging for local governments to compare street lighting pricing and determine whether they are receiving the best deal from their supplier. SOPEC can help local governments examine their street lighting accounts and negotiate lower rates so they can continue supplying adequate lighting throughout their communities and increase public safety.
PACE Financing is a powerful tool for helping residential and commercial property owners finance energy efficiency upgrades and onsite renewable generation. PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, and allows property owners who own property within an Energy Special Improvement District (E-SID) to finance these energy investments on their property through a lien. The PACE lien is recovered over time through an increased property tax assessment. PACE is a great project finance opportunity because PACE liens are not considered debt, and so they do not appear as liabilities on a business’s balance sheet or impact a homeowner’s credit. Additionally, when the property is sold, the PACE lien and the energy improvements to the property are transferred to the new owner. Also, by law PACE is intended to only be a win-win for property owners and their communities—as such, PACE projects can only be approved by the E-SID authority if the expected energy bill savings are greater than the increased property tax assessment. Overall, PACE provides many financing terms that are more flexible and less impactful than traditional lines of credit, and often at lower interest rates as well. SOPEC can help your community establish an E-SID and institute a successful PACE Financing program.
Mercantile customers are either large users or receive power to multiple meters. Under Ohio law, mercantile customers are a commercial or industrial customer if the electricity consumed is for nonresidential use and either (1) the customer consumes more than seven hundred thousand kilowatt hours (700,000 kWh) per year, or (2) is part of a an account involving multiple facilities in one or more states. SOPEC can help municipalities, industrial manufacturers, and large commercial operations review their annual energy consumption and determine if they qualify as mercantile customers. For qualifying mercantile customers, SOPEC offers periodic opportunities to enter the SOPEC mercantile program through a procurement auction. These auctions bundle hundreds of Southeast Ohio mercantile accounts together and return better pricing than most mercantile customers could achieve alone.