FAQ: Consumer-owned wind or solar generation

Interested in installing a wind or solar generator? Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions on the topic.

Eighty-eight solar panel sit on the roof of Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge, a Dakota Valley member near Cayuga. “We’re expecting to offset the costs of our shop and sell any extra back to the grid,” Rob Bundy, Tewaukon project leader says.

How much will I be paid for electricity I sell back to Dakota Valley (DVEC)? 
4.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (KWH), as set by our board.

How will I know how much electricity I sell back to DVEC?
DVEC will install a new, member-purchased revenue meter, to correctly meter the Continue reading

Q&A: Line extension policy changes increase power quality

Manager of Engineering Gary Allen answers questions about recent policy changes related to cooperative line extension.

What is the size limit on single-phase service locations?
“We’ve determined a maximum size of 150 kilovolt amps (kVA). This allows a total of 150 kilowatts (kW) for residential loads, or a total of 200-horse-power (hp) for grain handling systems and other motor loads.”

Is this something new at the cooperative?
“No, however explaining it in a policy is new. In the past, we’ve determined the maximum size on an individual basis. With our old method it was possible to consume all of the available capacity at one location. This new broad spectrum approach makes it fairer for everyone on a circuit. And the policy was designed so it would minimize objectionable events that occur as a result of motor starting and the like.”

What problems are addressed because of the policy?
Continue reading

Manager’s Message

Cooperative adopts changes for service to members

Printed in the May 2011 edition of the Dakota Valley News Magazine
by Dakota Valley General Manager Jay Jacobson

General Manager Jay Jacobson

In the rural areas served by Dakota Valley, farming has changed over the last 40 years. Crops are different with more corn and soybeans and less wheat and sunflowers. A growing number of farmsteads are significantly increasing in electrical load with large shops and sophisticated grain equipment.

At Dakota Valley we see the impact of the farm changes on our electrical distribution system. As electrical loads depart from traditional patterns, we have experienced voltage problems in places where none previously existed. Growth in seasonal farm loads has taken capacity on single-phase circuits on a first-come basis. The directors of Dakota Valley many of them farmers, understand that farm demographics will continue to change. We also understand that it is critical for us to stay ahead of voltage fluctuation problems, and important that we fairly provide electrical capacity to all of our members. Last month, in response to these needs, the cooperative board adopted two changes in our business.

One of these changes establishes a maximum service size of 150-kVA (kilovolt-amperes) for account locations served with a single-phase line. This step ensures that all members along the line have opportunity to utilize this basic level of capacity. It also provides a way for the cooperative to better assure service to all members free from sags and fluctuations caused by over loading else where on the circuit. Members needing capacity greater than 150-kVA will contribute to the cost for bringing in new three-phase line prior to adding more electrical load.

The second change adopted by the board is to simplify and standardize our calculation of charges members pay for line extension.

For example, with this change our charges for three-phase underground line extension will be $8.52 per foot of extension with the first 500 feet provided by Dakota Valley at no charge. Other types of line construction will have varying standardized costs, all which reference the average cost for the cooperative to construct the line.

We have provided more detailed information on these two business changes in a letter included with your electric power bill sent this month. If you desire more information, please call our office. We would be happy to discuss with you these changes and how they may influence your plans at your home, farm or business.