Idaho regulators approve state's first utility-owned community solar project

Dive Brief:

  • The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved Idaho Power’s application for what would be the state’s first utility-owned solar power plant, the Associated Press reports.

  • The 500-kW community solar project is designed to give access to solar power to customers who do not own their homes or otherwise do not have access to solar power.

  • The solar project would cost about $1.2 million and by paid via customer subscriptions at $562 each with customers getting a per kilowatt credit of 3 cents, rising to 4.4 cents in 25 years.

Dive Insight:

One of the biggest trends in solar power is community solar, according to a 2014 report by the Solar Electric Power Association. All across the country, utilities and regulators are working out details of community solar plans.

For Idaho last year, the main focus on was contracts for projects under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). But now it appears utilities are branching out for other ways to satiate the growing demand for renewable energy. 

In Idaho, Idaho Power originally proposed a subscription cost of $740 per customer, with buyers getting a 3 cents/kW credit. But the state’s PUC said subscribers would not be able to recoup their investment, so the agency lowered the subscription fee and set the credit at 3 cents/kW, rising to 4.4 cents/kW in 25 years.

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Filed Under: Generation Solar & Renewables Distributed Energy
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