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Tag: energy efficiency

CEO Column: A Balanced Team for Reliability


A Balanced Team for Reliability

March 1, 2024

The winningest basketball teams in history are ones that are consistent and have players with a variety of abilities. Some are better at shooting three-pointers, some are best at defense. Having a balanced mix of skills makes the team a powerhouse on the court. The way to keep electricity reliable is a bit like that too.

The power team requires a foundation of consistent resources that can be put in the game any time they’re needed. Having enough “always available” fuel sources like natural gas can ensure consistent power generation.

Just like a team needs different players for different situations, our power grid requires multiple sources to keep the grid running. Relying solely on one player to win every game is not an effective strategy—if they get injured, you’ll likely lose. Similarly, using a single fuel source for electricity generation poses a significant risk to energy reliability. A diverse mix of energy sources acts as a safeguard, ensuring that the grid remains operational even in the face of unexpected challenges.

A diverse energy mix also enhances grid flexibility by accommodating the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Renewable energy offers an array of cost and sustainability benefits, but to thrive it needs the support of battery storage systems and “always available” power.

Diverse fuel sources contribute to the stability and reliability of the electric grid. The different sources have varying characteristics, including generation patterns, responsiveness and storage capabilities. This diversity allows for a more balanced and resilient energy system that can adapt to fluctuating demand and unforeseen circumstances.

A diverse set of energy sources is essential, but that’s not the only thing we need to have reliable electricity—or a winning team. Trico is constantly innovating to maintain reliability for today and tomorrow.

In that spirit, when we talk about Power Supply our goal is to ensure ample resources incorporating traditional, distributed, and Member-owned assets. That means building new, high-efficiency gas units, operating our Avion and Chirreon Solar and Battery facilities efficiently, and supporting over 5,000 Members with solar at their homes. In the future, it will mean new demand response programs and working closely with our Members to take on power supply challenges.

Like a great team, each one of our resources brings something special to the table, and together, they make sure we have the power we need, whenever we need it.

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FREE Virtual Energy Efficiency Workshop

Flipping a switch. Changing the air filter. Unplugging electronics. Making small changes and using energy wisely can help you save energy and money. Join us VIRTUALLY on April 24, 2024 from 6:00 – 7:00 PM for Trico’s FREE Virtual Energy Savings Workshop. This workshop will center on sharing ways you can save money by reducing energy usage in your home.

RSVP online here.

Rooftop Solar Considerations


Questions to consider before installing rooftop solar

February 1, 2024

The benefits of installing rooftop solar panels may seem like a no-brainer, but the reality is, not every home (and homeowner’s situation) is always right for solar.

There are several factors to consider before installing a rooftop solar system, like determining if your home will receive enough sun to achieve your goals, finding the right contractor, negotiating contracts and other important details.

Investing in solar for your home is a major decision. If you’re considering rooftop solar, Trico can help. We are committed to providing information and guidance to assist Members in determining if solar is right for them. Our Energy Solutions Program Managers are available to serve as your energy partner throughout the solar interconnection process. To get started, visit our website at www.trico.coop/sustainable-energy or call us at 520-744-2944.

Here are questions to consider before installing rooftop solar panels.

  1. What are my goals? If your primary goal is to save money on electric bills, you may be able to achieve this by improving the energy efficiency of your home. Visit our website for a full list of energy efficiency tips and to see our upcoming free webinars and resources.
  2. Is my roof suitable for solar? Your roof should be in good condition before installing solar panels. If your roof is old and in poor shape, it may need to be replaced before panels can be mounted. Additionally, your roof should receive a lot of sun to make the most of a rooftop system. Consider how much sun (and shade) the roof receives and if any trees will need to be removed. Solar panels perform best when facing south, so keep this in mind as you think about where the panels will be mounted.
  3. How long will I own the home? If you’re considering rooftop solar, you’re likely planning to stay in the home for several years. But if you plan to sell the home at some point down the road, consider that not all potential buyers will want to maintain a rooftop solar system. If you enter a contract to lease the system, carefully review the terms and what those mean if you decide to sell the property.
  4. Lease or purchase? Purchasing a rooftop solar system outright is expensive, which is why many homeowners opt to lease their solar panels. However, federal tax credits can help cover some of the costs for a new system, up to 30%. Regardless of how you decide to finance the solar system, make sure you get several quotes from qualified contractors.
  5. Can the contractor provide up-to-date documentation? Request proof and documentation of the contractor’s licensing, permitting and other credentials. Comb through company reviews. Check the contractor’s status with the Better Business Bureau, the AZ Attorney General’s Office, and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
  6. Does the contract seem reasonable and fair? If you decide to hire a contractor to install rooftop solar, carefully read the fine print of the contract. Do the system performance calculations seem realistic? Does the project timeframe sound reasonable? Negotiate the contract terms to fit your goals and needs.
  7. Who will maintain the solar panels? Determining who is responsible for maintaining the solar panels will depend on who owns the system. If you lease the system from a solar installer, it may be their responsibility. Periodically, solar panels may need to be cleaned as dirt and debris can impact panel productivity. Parts may also need to be replaced, so it’s important to know who will take on these responsibilities.

If you decide to install solar, you should contact Trico to understand how the interconnection process works as well as what to expect on your bill. The system will likely be connected to the electric grid, so you’ll need to sign an interconnection agreement.

Did you miss our Virtual Solar Workshop on January 16? A recording of the workshop is available on our website at www.trico.coop/sustainable-energy.

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CEO Column: Reliable power for today and tomorrow


CEO Column: Reliable power for today — and tomorrow

December 1, 2023

Ringing in a new year sparks a sense of renewed hope and optimism about the future. As the CEO/General Manager of Trico, for me, it’s a time to reflect on where we are and where we’re going. At the heart of this reflection, I think about ways we can better serve you, the Members of the cooperative.

Our team at Trico is always looking ahead, exploring ways to innovate and utilize new technologies to improve our services. As our nation increasingly relies on electricity to power the economy, keeping the lights on has never been more important. We’re dedicated to making a difference in the communities we serve by providing our Members cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions.

I want to share some statistics with you that describe where we are and where we are going. These facts show Trico is in a strong position to support the needs of our Members and the communities we serve, and ready for the challenges of the coming years. In the coming months, I will continue to share information about Trico’s future and how we are performing. I hope this will confirm for you that serving our Members’ best interest is our top priority. 

One critical component of reliable power is the mix of energy resources used to generate electricity. Trico purchases power from a diverse mix of providers and some of the energy we provide is generated on Trico’s own system. Trico is increasing the amount of renewable energy used to serve its Members with the goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2032. At the same time, we are also adding new high-efficiency natural gas units, in partnership with Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, to help support the needs of the system. Our current energy resource mix is made up of 33 percent renewables, 31 percent coal/steam, 30 percent natural gas and six percent hydropower.

We devote a lot of attention to keeping costs down to support our Members. Trico is in the top 20% of U.S. electric cooperatives in terms of greatest number of Members served per employee. Our employees are a high-achieving, diverse group and they display the cooperative spirit every day. We get a lot done while controlling costs!

When we talk about sustainable energy, that also means reliability. Over the last five years from 2018-2022, our Members have experienced over 90 minutes less outage time per year, than the median cooperative in the U.S. We know you rely on us to keep the lights on, and we take that responsibility seriously. Every department at Trico contributes to this reliability, and we aim to be even better.

Another measure of success is the amount of Membership Equity we return to our Members. Trico has returned Membership Equity for 14 years in a row, and this year Trico is giving back $5.4 million to its Members. That is $5.4 million that will stay in our local communities and help our Members.

As we turn our focus to 2024, Trico will continue working to provide the reliable, affordable electricity you expect and deserve—for today and tomorrow. On behalf of Trico’s employees and Board of Directors, I wish all of you a healthy, peaceful and prosperous holiday season. We look forward to serving you in 2024.

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Free Virtual Solar Workshop

Is solar right for you? Join Trico’s experts virtually as they answer your rooftop solar questions BEFORE you sign with a contractor. Register in advance here.

 

To ask any immediate solar related questions, email us at sunwatts@trico.coop or call us at 520-744-2944, ext. 1524.

Holiday Energy Savings Tips


Holiday Energy Savings Tips

November 1, 2023

The holidays bring a frenzy of decorating, cooking and family gatherings, and amid the hectic hustle and bustle, you may receive higher-than-usual energy bills.

Here are efficiency tips to help lower your monthly energy use:

Making minor, low-cost improvements, like weatherstripping exterior doors and caulking around old, drafty windows can have a positive impact on energy bills.

With holiday lights adorning your home for well over a month, consider making the switch to LEDs to save energy. LED holiday lights use 88% less energy than incandescent holiday lights. Beyond energy savings, LEDs provide additional benefits, such as being shock-resistant, shatterproof and cool to the touch, making them safer for the home.

You can also lower energy use by conveniently managing holiday lighting. Smart light timers can help you save energy by connecting to a smart phone app or voice assistant to program lights to turn on and off at set times. If you don’t use smart home technology, you can still save energy by using traditional timers.

Cook up energy savings in the kitchen

If you plan to have family and friends over this holiday season, you can cook up energy savings by using small countertop appliances like microwaves, air fryers and slow cookers when possible, as they use much less energy than the stovetop or oven.

When using the oven, bake multiple dishes at once for maximum efficiency. Afterall, it takes as much energy to cook one dish as it does to cook several. Turn the oven off a few minutes before the recipe’s end time and allow the residual heat to finish baking the dish. Once the food is done, leave the stove door ajar to allow the residual heat to warm the room. When using the stove top, match the pan size to the burner to maximize the stove top’s efficiency.

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Go Electric with Trico


Go Electric with Trico and Save Money!

April 27, 2023

Electricity is becoming cleaner every day and Members can save money on their energy costs over time.

Trico provides our Members with the latest information on purchasing an electric vehicle (EV). From tax incentives and benefits to a savings calculator, our EV website provides details on different EV models and what type of EV may be best for you. The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved Trico’s Experimental Electric Vehicle Tariff and that tariff will be available soon. Members who charge their EVs between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. will pay a discounted rate.

To learn more about electric vehicles, visit our website here. You can also call us at (520) 744‑2944 to speak with one of our Sustainable Energy experts.

Additional Resources:

  1. View fuel economy and energy saving EV tips here.
  2. Learn how EV drivers save almost $800 per year here.
  3. See your top questions answered in this EV 101 guide.

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Energy Efficiency Workshop

Flipping a switch. Changing the air filter. Unplugging electronics. Making small changes and using energy wisely can help you save energy and money. Join us on April 26, 2023 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM for Trico’s FREE in-person Energy Savings Workshop. This workshop will be held at Trico, 8600 W. Tangerine Rd. in Marana, and will center on sharing ways you can save money by reducing energy usage in your home.

To RSVP, email sunwatts@trico.coop or call us at 520-744-2944, ext. 1524. We hope to see you there!

RSVP to Trico’s Fall Energy Savings Workshop


RSVP to Trico’s Fall Energy Efficiency Workshop

November 5, 2022 from 9:00-11:00 AM

Flipping a switch. Changing the air filter. Unplugging electronics. Making small changes and using energy wisely can help you save energy and money. Join us on November 5, 2022 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM for Trico’s FREE in-person Energy Savings Workshop. This workshop will be held at Trico, 8600 W. Tangerine Rd. in Marana, and will center on sharing ways you can save money by reducing energy usage in your home. Everyone in attendance will receive a small prize! 

To RSVP, email efficiencyprograms@trico.coop or call us at 520-744-2944, ext. 1524. We hope to see you there!

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