Interactive Maps

Cooperative Solar: Driven by Cooperative Principles

Member-owned electric cooperatives have nearly 240 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity online or on the drawing board across the country.

Not-for-profit electric co-ops develop solar for one reason only: to serve their members.

Cooperative solar IS consumer-owned solar.

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Electric Cooperatives Serving Persistent Poverty Counties

Electric cooperatives serve in 327 of the nation's 353 "persistent poverty counties" (93%). Of the 42 million Americans served by cooperatives, an estimated 4 million live in persistent poverty counties.

See how NRECA Cooperatives serve our communities.

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Cooperative Growth Over Time Visualization

As late as the mid-1930s, 9 out of 10 rural homes were without electric service.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Act in 1933, and the establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935 changed that.

Most rural electrification is the product of locally owned rural electric cooperatives that got their start by borrowing funds from the REA to build lines and provide service on a not-for-profit basis.

This visualization shows the growth of NRECA electric cooperatives in the United States over time.

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Cooperatives and Renewable Energy

Summary information and national totals (Data updated April 2014.)

  • Nationwide, co-ops own and purchase over 5.9 GW of renewable capacity — in addition to roughly 10 GW of preference power contracts with federal hydroelectric facilities.
  • Co-ops own 1.1 GW of renewable energy generation and have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for over 4.8 GW.
  • Including federal hydropower, co-ops own or purchase over 10 percent of U.S. renewable capacity.
  • Currently, 95 percent of NRECA's distribution members (794 out of 838) offer renewable energy options to 40 million Americans.
  • The IRS has approved $900 million in CREB allocations for cooperative renewable energy development.
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Also of Interest: The Cooperative Research Network's renewable and distributed energy program is working to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy at cooperatives nationwide.



Cooperatives Promote Efficiency

Summary information and national totals (Data updated March 2012.)

  • Cooperatives have 10 percent of retail electricity sales but are responsible for 20 percent of actual peak reduction (Energy Information Administration).
  • Co-ops are responsible for nearly 25 percent of residential peak load management capacity (Energy Information Administration).
  • According to a 2011 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission survey, more than 21 percent of customers enrolled in a demand response program are co-op members.
  • 720 Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives members are participating in the only national utility-sponsored campaign to promote energy efficiency, TogetherWeSave.com.
  • 96 percent of cooperatives have an efficiency program in place (2009 NRECA Market Research).
  • 70 percent of co-ops offer financial incentives to promote greater efficiency (2009 NRECA Market Research).
  • 73 percent of co-ops plan on significantly expanding existing efficiency programs in the next two years (2009 NRECA Market Research).
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Cooperatives and the Smart Grid

Summary information and national totals (Data updated March 2012.)

  • According to a 2012 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report, cooperatives continue to show the largest penetration of advanced metering infrastructure: 31 percent, compared with 23 percent for the country as a whole.
  • More than 50 co-ops and public power districts in 15 states are receiving $215.6 million in smart grid investment grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
  • 27 cooperatives in 12 states are participating in the Cooperative Research Network’s Smart Grid Demonstration Grant, supported by a $34 million matching grant from DOE.
  • Approximately half of cooperatives have installed AMI/advanced meter reading (AMR) technology on part or all their system (NRECA Market Research).
  • 30 percent of cooperatives with AMI/AMR have begun to integrate their metering systems with other systems such as outage management systems, customer information systems, and geographic information systems (NRECA Market Research).
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Cooperative Service Territory

The more than 860 cooperatives nationwide serve:

  • 42 million people in 47 states
  • 18 million businesses, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigation systems and other establishments in 2,500 of 3,141 counties in the United States
  • 12 percent of the nation's population

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Generation and Transmission Cooperative Service Territory

The nation’s 66 G &Ts are primarily engaged in marketing, generating, or transmitting wholesale electricity. Some G&Ts, such as Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., serve other G&Ts as well distribution cooperatives.

Some G&Ts, such as Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., serve other G&Ts as well distribution cooperatives.

Generation and transmission cooperatives:

  • generate nearly five percent of the total electricity produced in the United States each year
  • purchase nearly half of their energy requirements from other wholesale suppliers; most cooperatives are net buyers of power
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Electric Cooperatives and Nuclear Power

(Data updated March 2013.)

Electric cooperatives own shares of nine nuclear plants totaling 2,695 MW of generation.

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Contact information for individual cooperatives and statewide associations can be found by using the Member Directory