We’re here to help answer your questions. Browse the frequently asked questions below, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact us online or call 1-800-632-6605.
The numbers and assumptions included in some answers below are based on Idaho Power’s current service offering. Ongoing cases with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) could change the billing and compensation structure for on-site generation in the future. Existing residential and small general service on-site generation customers as of Dec. 20, 2019 have been grandfathered into the current offering by the IPUC.
Idaho Power customers can install solar or other renewable energy systems to offset some of their energy use. Systems that are connected to the grid are called “interconnected.” With an interconnected system, energy flows two ways between the electrical grid and your home. At times, the solar or renewable system will produce more energy than the home/business needs. At other times the home/business will need to draw electricity from Idaho Power. Alternatively, a system can be designed as “non-export” to prevent excess energy from flowing to the grid.
Residential (Schedule 1) and small commercial (Schedule 7) customers may connect a generation facility, with a total nameplate capacity of 25 kilowatts (kW) AC or less. All other rate classes may connect a generation facility with a total nameplate capacity of 100 kW AC or less. For inverter-based generation sources, the nameplate capacity is defined as the AC nameplate rating of the inverter. For non-inverter-based generation sources, the nameplate capacity is defined as the nameplate rating of the generation source (example: nameplate rating of the turbine). For projects over 100 kW, refer to Generator Interconnection. Residential Time Of Day customers (Schedule 5) may not participate.
No. Idaho Power employees do not sell solar installations or any energy services door to door. Idaho Power employees may visit your home to perform maintenance or turn a meter on or off; however, those visits are preceded by a phone call, a note on your door, or other communication; and Idaho Power employees will arrive in a company vehicle clearly marked with Idaho Power’s logo. If someone claims to work for the company, ask to see their employee badge.
Idaho Power does not hire, contract, endorse or partner with any solar companies. Although Idaho Power works with customers to connect solar installations to the grid, we are not involved with the sale or installation. Additionally, Idaho Power is not liable for or bound to any contract or agreement between you and a solar company.
Solar panels only produce energy in natural daylight. They do not produce energy at night, and production may be limited on cloudy days. Panels also are incapable of storing energy. Solar panels can be paired with energy storage systems like batteries to store a limited amount of energy for use at a later time.
The monthly electric bill for homeowners who install solar or wind may be lower because of the energy they receive from their system. But solar and other renewable generation systems can be a large investment, costing thousands — often tens of thousands — of dollars. So, while your electric bill may be lower each month, you won’t see a true return on your investment for years down the road. Additionally, there are different payment options for solar, including paying cash upfront or financing plans that include interest. Typically, any time a large purchase requires making monthly payments, interest charges are included. Adding interest increases the total cost and length of time to recoup an investment.
Idaho has some of the lowest electricity prices in the nation, largely due to our clean, low-cost hydroelectric system. In states where electricity is expensive, an investment in solar on-site generation can have a quicker payback. In California, for example, solar install prices are only slightly higher than Idaho’s, but their electric utility prices are significantly higher. Therefore, residents of California who choose to install solar can start saving money in less than 10 years. Idaho Power customers enjoy lower electricity prices, which usually means a much longer period to recover an investment in solar. It’s also important to consider that Idaho Power’s rules and pricing structures are not contracts and are subject to change at any time with approval from the IPUC. Modifications to the compensation structure will likely result in changes to how excess energy sent back to the grid by the customer is measured and credited and the value of that credit. Those changes will impact any savings realized from a rooftop solar system and potential payback on the investment.
Many factors can affect the payback, including the cost per watt of the system, its energy production, and your tax credit eligibility. A system’s energy production depends on the technology used, how the system is configured, and environmental factors. Solar production is affected by the direction and tilt of the panels and anything that causes shade, including clouds and dust. Wind production is affected by location, turbine height, and obstacles that interrupt wind flow, such as nearby structures or trees. Another factor is electricity price changes. Idaho has some of the lowest electricity prices in the nation, largely due to our clean, low-cost hydroelectric system. Prices fluctuate slightly year-to-year due to inflation, fuel costs and other factors. Looking forward, Idaho Power’s most recent Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) report estimates that relative fuel prices will increase, on average, 1% per year over the next 18. Additionally, Idaho Power’s rules and pricing structures are not contracts and are subject to change at any time with approval from the IPUC. Modifications to the compensation structure will likely result in changes to how excess energy sent back to the grid by the customer is measured and credited and the value of that credit. Those changes will impact any savings realized from a rooftop solar system and potential payback on the investment.
Generally, no. Having power when the grid is down generally requires a battery backup system. Inverters are the part of a typical solar system that convert DC power to usable AC power. The vast majority of inverters are grid-connected and work only if the electrical grid is functioning normally. If the grid experiences an outage, the inverters sense the abnormality and will stop interacting with the grid. This helps keep work crews safe and the grid stable. A small number of customers connect to the grid and have a battery backup system. This allows them to use energy stored in the batteries while the power is out. Battery backup systems will add cost to the overall system.
Most homeowners with on-site generation connect to Idaho Power’s electrical grid to ensure reliable, consistent electricity. The wind doesn’t always blow. Solar panels only produce when the sun is out. Even then, the panels may not produce enough energy to meet the home’s energy needs at all times. The grid lets solar customers draw power at night when there is no sunshine, during a cloudy day, or any time they need more electricity than their system is generating. Also, most customers with on-site generation rely on the grid for the rush of power needed to start up large appliances like air conditioning units. Without the grid, the average solar or wind generation system can’t supply enough instantaneous power to turn on these large appliances. For these reasons, homeowners with on-site generation rely on Idaho Power’s electrical grid every hour of every day. The following graph shows a full day’s meter readings for a sample home with an on-site solar generation system connected to Idaho Power’s electric grid. One example is from August when the days are long and solar panels are at their peak generation. The other example is from January, when solar panels typically produce less than half the energy than they do in July and August because of the shorter days in winter. The red line indicates zero kilowatt-hours. The yellow shading shows the times that the home’s solar is generating more energy than the home is using. During this time, excess energy is delivered to the grid. The blue shading shows when the home needs more energy than solar can provide, and the home is drawing energy from the grid.
*For simplicity, the chart shows a pure yellow color. However, the home may still rely on the grid even when solar is at its midday peak. For example, when a cloud goes by or a large appliance needs a boost, the grid is there to meet the home’s energy needs.
Currently, customers who do not generate enough energy to cover their needs pay the same retail rates for power they use as Idaho Power’s standard service customers, while customers who generate more electricity than they need in a month receive an energy credit measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The credit carries forward to offset the customers’ energy needs in future months.
However, Idaho Power’s current rules and pricing structures are not contracts and are subject to change at any time with approval from the IPUC. Modifications to the compensation structure will likely result in changes to how excess energy sent back to the grid by the customer is measured and credited and the value of that credit. Those changes will impact the billing structure, any savings realized from your system and potential payback on your investment.
Currently, solar photovoltaic (PV) is the most common choice for those who generate their own renewable energy. However, Idaho Power’s net metering and on-site generation tariffs allow customers to connect solar, wind, small-scale hydro, biomass, geothermal and fuel cell technologies as exporting systems. Other fuel types and stand-alone energy storage are allowed as non-exporting systems.
For a solar array, each kilowatt (kW) DC of solar photovoltaic generation capacity requires about 100 to 200 square feet of roof or ground area depending on the efficiency of the panels. For a wind turbine, the space depends on the type and height of the system installed. A general rule of thumb is the turbine generator should be 20 feet above the top of anything within 300 feet of the system. Turbines should be erected away from structures to minimize the risk of falling on buildings during strong winds. The minimum distance between turbines and structures is typically equal to the combined height of the tower and blades, known as the “fall distance.”
Before you decide on a size, consider taking advantage of Idaho Power’s energy efficiency programs to help lower your overall energy use. Reducing your energy needs may allow you to install a smaller system and save money, and is also your greenest option. The size of the system depends on many factors including the type of technology, the available space and how much energy your home or business uses. Your monthly electric bill shows your usage for the past 12 months and both hourly and monthly data can be accessed through My Account. The next question, How Much Energy Does a System Generate, offers instructions for matching a solar size to your energy use.
The energy generated varies by the type of system and depends on such factors as technology, age, weather, location and directional orientation. Solar panels do not produce the same amount of power at all times of the year or all times of the day. They produce less in the winter due to the weather and fewer hours of daylight. Energy generated will vary depending on the time of day, cloud cover and shading from nearby trees, roof pitches or other structures. The times that solar energy is generating doesn’t always align with when the home needs energy.
PVWatts Calculator is an online tool developed by the federal government for estimating solar generation based on geographic location and system design. According to PVWatts, 8 kilowatts of south-facing rooftop solar in southern Idaho will generate around 11,600 kWh per year – roughly the amount of energy used per year by the average home in Idaho Power’s service area.
To use PVWatts to determine the size system you would need, simply input your city, solar size in kilowatts (kW) and the calculator will estimate solar electricity generation by hour for a full year. Compare the PVWatts estimate to your hourly historical energy use, which you can find on My Account at idahopower.com/MyAccount. Tweak the kW in the calculator to find a size that meets your energy use goals. If you decide to move forward with purchasing an on-site renewable generation system, a professional installer can help estimate a system’s hourly solar generation. Be sure to compare the installer’s estimated solar generation with the information provided by PVWatts Calculator.
Note: Idaho Power’s current rules and pricing structures are not contracts and are subject to change at any time with approval from the IPUC. Modifications to the compensation structure will likely result in changes to how excess energy sent back to the grid by the customer is measured and credited and the value of that credit. Those changes will impact any savings realized from your system and potential payback on your investment.
On-site solar projects are smaller systems (typically less than 25 kW for residential), located behind a customer’s meter, and designed to offset all or a part of a customer’s energy needs. Utility-scale solar generally refers to systems larger than 10 megawatts, is tied directly to the grid, and serves all customers. Utility-scale solar—or any utility-scale resource—typically has a lower installation cost per kW of capacity and therefore may be more cost effective for Idaho Power and its customers.
While Idaho Power customers with on-site generation are generating and using clean energy, it isn’t included in Idaho Power’s energy mix (and, therefore, doesn’t technically count toward our company’s clean energy goal). That’s because the customer uses most of the energy produced by on-site generation. Any excess net energy helps from an avoided cost perspective (i.e., energy Idaho Power doesn’t have to produce elsewhere), but because it is for the customer’s use and they are compensated for any excess energy in the form of an energy credit they can use later, it does not count toward our company’s energy mix.
No. However, there are federal and state tax incentives and loan programs that may help with financing on-site renewable energy sources. The Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources has information on financing options at oemr.idaho.gov. For Oregon customers, visit the Oregon Energy Department at oregon.gov/energy. The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, also lists incentives for renewable resources by state at dsireusa.org.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) grandfathered existing residential and small general service customers with on-site generation as of December 20, 2019, under the rules of Idaho Power’s service offering as of that date. The end date for grandfathering is December 20, 2045.
The IPUC grandfathered existing large general service, industrial and irrigation customers with on-site generation as of December 1, 2020, under the rules of Idaho Power’s service offering as of that date. The end date for grandfathering is December 1, 2045.
The IPUC’s grandfathering provisions apply to the on-site generation system rather than the Idaho Power customer — meaning the original system will remain grandfathered if a customer moves. However, if the system is moved to a new location, it will not retain grandfathered status. System expansions and modifications may affect the grandfathered status of the system. (See FAQ What if I want to add solar panels or additional turbines to my system or replace my inverter?)
Not sure if your system is grandfathered? Call Idaho Power’s customer solutions advisors at 1-800-632-6605 to confirm your system’s status.
The compensation structure includes how energy consumed from the grid is measured and how the excess net energy exported to the grid is (1) measured, (2) credited, and (3) valued. Changes to the components of the compensation structure can affect the payback period.
(1) Measurement Interval: What is the difference between monthly and hourly net billing?
In general, net billing means excess energy produced and exported to the grid at any time during the defined measurement interval can offset the energy consumed from the grid during that same interval (e.g., monthly or hourly in our example). Monthly net billing allows excess net energy to offset a customer’s energy needs anytime during that month, even at night when all energy needs for a customer with solar are typically supplied by the grid.
Hourly net billing means excess energy produced in one hour can only offset the energy used within that same hour. Any net excess energy exported to the grid is typically compensated at a rate different than the retail rate.
(2) Excess Energy Credit: How are excess energy credits applied?
At the end of the net billing cycle, unused excess energy credits are converted to bill credits. Bill credits apply toward charges for energy supplied by Idaho Power in future net billing cycles. Under the existing net monthly billing, each kWh of excess net energy can be carried forward to offset future kWh consumption.
(3) Value of Excess Energy: How does the credit value impact an investment in on-site generation?
If a change in the compensation structure results in a lower credit value, it will take longer for a customer to recoup an investment in on-site generation because they are receiving less of a bill credit than under the existing compensation structure.
The estimates and assumptions used in the payback scenarios are generalizations. Your actual payback will differ based on your energy needs, solar system size and cost, loan interest rate, tax credit eligibility, and any changes to Idaho Power’s compensation structure. You can view your monthly and annual energy needs on Idaho Power’s My Account. For a personalized estimate of solar, Idaho Power recommends researching professional installers and getting multiple bids.
The payback scenarios used the following inputs:
Home’s energy use: Average residential customer use of 11,800 kWh per year (980 kWh per month) with energy use highest in winter and summer for heating and cooling.
Solar generation: Hourly and annual generation for a 6 kWDC solar array (a common size for Idaho Power customers) in Boise. Estimates are from National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) PV Watts Calculator, using the calculator’s default settings.
System cost: $3.00 per watt based on Project Sunroof’s cost estimates for a similarly sized system in Boise. The cost for the example 6 kW solar system is $18,000 before tax credits and deductions.
System degradation: 0.7% annually based on data from NREL’s 2018 Benchmark Report.
Tax credits: 26% federal tax credit and full Idaho state tax deduction.
Energy costs: Idaho Power’s pricing for Schedule 1, Residential Service, with an average kWh cost of approximately 8-10¢.
Utility bill increases: 1% to 3% per year. By comparison, Idaho Power’s energy fuel costs are estimated to increase 1.3% per year, as noted in the current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
Loan details: 20-year loan at 3.99% interest is a common solar loan term.
Discount rate (required rate of return): 6%. This input should be based on one’s personal needs. When deciding your required rate of return, at a minimum, consider inflation (typically 2-3%) and your loan interest rate to make sure you break even. Decide what is the best use of your money right now by comparing the expected returns from different investment options, like stocks, bonds, other purchases or simply saving for your future.
Solar Energy Credit Value: For the current estimate, 8-10¢ reflects the retail kWh value for Schedule 1. The actual future value for customers’ excess solar energy will be determined by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission after a study of the costs and benefits of distributed on-site generation to Idaho Power’s system. The study and the future value of excess energy will be determined during future filings with the Commission and will involve the public and stakeholders representing a diverse set of customer interests. For the modified estimate provided, 2-3¢ is based on the price Idaho Power pays per kWh for solar energy from the Jackpot Solar plant, which began generating in late 2022.
At the direction of the IPUC, Idaho Power filed a study analyzing the benefits and costs of on-site customer generation within the company’s service area. The study provides information that the IPUC, Idaho Power and other stakeholders will use to determine whether changes should be made to Idaho Power’s existing customer generation offering for all customer classes (Schedule 6, Schedule 8 and Schedule 84).
In December 2022, the IPUC issued an order acknowledging the study and directing Idaho Power to file a new case requesting to implement changes to the current on-site customer generation offering. Idaho Power is working on that case, which we anticipate filing in the first half of 2023.
Plan your installation, including system size and equipment. Our Solar Checklist or a professional installer can help you through the process. Then submit an Idaho Power Customer Generation Application and $100 fee. Applications are available online or can be mailed upon request. Approved applications are valid for one year. Wait for approval to proceed from Idaho Power; we will review the application and check the infrastructure (lines, transformers, etc.) serving the property. We will let you know within 7 business days if you can proceed or if upgrades are needed. Upgrades are an additional expense, so we recommend completing this step before proceeding with your purchase. Once you’ve received approval from Idaho Power and secured any required building and electrical permits, you can build your system. It must pass a state/city electrical inspection, after which you should submit an Idaho Power System Verification Form certifying your system is complete and has passed all required inspections. Forms are available online or can be mailed upon request. Once the System Verification Form is received, Idaho Power will conduct an on-site inspection to confirm compliance with our rules and in most cases, change the meter. Once the meter is changed, you may turn on your system and begin generating power.
Solar, wind and other forms of energy generation are electrical sources and must be designed with safety in mind. In general, we require a grid-tied smart inverter. Smart inverters must conform to the latest Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1547 standards and be certified by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) 1741 standard, which complies with the latest IEEE 1547 standards. Idaho Power also requires an AC disconnect switch on the customer’s side of the meter. Breakers do not meet these requirements. An overview of the interconnection requirements and a link to the rules as outlined in Schedule 68 Interconnections to Non-Utility Generation are available at idahopower.com/customerGeneration. The specific requirements for the AC disconnect are listed in Schedule 68.
Aside from what you pay for your system and installation, Idaho Power requires a $100 fee to cover application processing, engineering review and on-site inspections. If the project requires upgrades to Idaho Power equipment, the applicant also must pay those costs.
Onsite generation that is interconnected to Idaho Power’s electrical grid must comply with the rules for interconnection. These requirements ensure the safety of Idaho Power crews working in the area and protect the reliability of the electrical grid for all customers. Customers with generation systems found to be interconnected without completing the Customer Generation application process will be asked to bring their system into compliance or risk being permanently disconnected from the electrical grid.
Smart inverters provide functionality to support the ongoing stability and reliability of Idaho Power’s distribution system. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has found smart inverters can mitigate circuit voltage deviation in a cost-effective manner. Smart inverters are required for applications received after March 23, 2021. Customers that replace an inverter must meet the current inverter standards outlined in Schedule 68.
Smart inverters must conform to the latest Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1547 standards and be certified by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) 1741 standard, which complies with the latest IEEE 1547 standards. Idaho Power requires inverters that comply with IEEE 1547-2018 and are either UL 1741-SA or UL 1741-SB certified.
One of the last steps in the interconnection process is the submittal of a System Verification Form. This form certifies that the system is installed and meets all electric codes and Idaho Power’s tariff requirements. The signatory of the form also certifies that the system is installed, has passed an electrical inspection, inverters are programmed, breakers are on and required signage is in place. Once this form is received, Idaho Power visits the site to inspect for compliance with its rules and, if needed, change the meter. The first Idaho Power inspection is conducted at no charge. Starting March 23, 2021, a return trip charge of $61 may be billed to the customer each time Idaho Power personnel are dispatched to the job site but are unable to conduct the on-site inspection due to one or more of the conditions not being met that had been certified as complete by the customer or installer on the System Verification Form. This charge will appear on the customer’s bill the following month.
For new on-site generation systems going through Idaho Power’s interconnection process, the first inspection is conducted at no charge. A return trip charge of $61 may be billed to the customer each time Idaho Power personnel are dispatched to the job site but are unable to conduct the on-site inspection due to a condition not being met that had been certified as complete on the System Verification Form. Here are common reasons Idaho Power’s on-site inspection cannot be completed and a return trip fee of $61 may be charged:
The system does not generate. This is usually due to a breaker being off or an issue with the inverters (e.g., inverters were not programmed, were not turned on, or have a fault).
During the grid outage simulation, the inverter reconnects faster than the required 5-minute delay.
There is no AC disconnect for the generation system or the AC disconnect does not meet the requirements in Schedule 68.
The AC disconnect and meter are not accessible (behind a locked gate or in a building).
A battery storage system was installed but not disclosed on the System Verification Form.
The battery storage system is not working.
The generation system installation was not finished.
There are two configurations for energy storage devices (such as batteries): those that share an inverter with a generation facility (direct current [DC] coupled); and those that have a standalone inverter (alternating current [AC] coupled). Idaho Power requires that energy storage devices not coupled with a generation facility taking service under Schedule 6, 8, or 84 (exporting system) may not export energy onto Idaho Power’s system. Starting March 23, 2021, the total system size for on-site generation systems with energy storage devices will be calculated as follows:
DC Coupled: For energy storage devices that are DC coupled, the total nameplate capacity of the system is defined by the inverter (kilovoltampere [kVA]).
AC Coupled: For AC coupled energy storage with an exporting system, the total nameplate capacity is the total nameplate capacity of all distributed energy resources on the customers’ side of the interconnection point (i.e., the AC capacity of the solar PV system plus the AC capacity of the battery.)
For an energy storage device coupled with a non-exporting system, the total nameplate capacity of the energy storage device shall be considered 0 kVA.
Changes to the on-site generation system that modify the system in any way (including adding more solar panels, adding batteries or inverter replacements) can impact the safety or reliability of Idaho Power’s electrical grid and are considered system modifications. Customers planning to make system modifications must submit an application and $100 fee and complete the interconnection process.
Note: Systems applying for modifications must meet the requirements, including the current smart inverter requirement, in place today, Modifications may also require a state/city electrical inspection. Be sure to check with your authority-having-jurisdiction to ensure the work complies with all electrical codes.
Modifications to grandfathered systems are allowed; however, the way the new system is connected may result in changes to the grandfathered status of the existing system. The new panels and inverters must be separately metered to retain grandfathered status for the existing installation if adding solar panels. The new portion of the system will not be grandfathered, will take service under the rules in place and will be subject to future changes in billing and compensation structure. If the expansion is not separately metered from the grandfathered portion, no part of the system will retain grandfathering.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission allows for replacing degraded or broken solar panels without affecting a system’s grandfathered status. When replacing panels, customers may increase the grandfathered system’s capacity by no more than 10% of the initially installed nameplate capacity or 1 kW, whichever is greater. The total number of panels must remain the same or less than the initially installed system.
To determine your grandfathering status and expansion requirements, contact our customer solutions advisors at1-800-632-6605.
Systems that are offline for more than six months will be removed from the on-site generation rate and returned to a standard service rate. The AC disconnect will be locked off and the net meter exchanged for a standard service meter. If the system is brought back online at a later date or moved to a new location, it must meet the current requirements and complete the interconnection process, including a new application. If a Legacy system is offline for longer than six months, or is moved to another site, the Legacy status is forfeited.
System modifications (including replacing broken or degraded panels) must complete the interconnection process. Legacy customers may risk loss of Legacy status if they modify their system. To allow for the replacement of degraded or broken panels, legacy customers may increase the capacity of their Legacy system by no more than 10% of the originally installed nameplate capacity or 1 kW, whichever is greater. The total number of panels must remain the same as the originally installed system.
Existing customers may choose to convert their existing two-meter design to a single-meter option; however, Legacy status would be forfeited. The customer will be responsible for costs to reconfigure the system and must complete the interconnection process, including a new application.
As a customer with on-site renewable generation, you may be eligible to transfer excess credits. Service agreements are eligible to receive credit transfers if they meet the criteria listed in Idaho Power’s Schedule 84, 6 or 8. These criteria include:
Excess energy credits must be available.
Service agreements must be held by the customer and be for the customer’s use.
Service agreements must be on the same contiguous property and be served by the same primary feeder as the customer generation (i.e., on-site generation or net metering) service agreements.
Transfers can only occur between Residential and Small General Service accounts (Schedules 1, 6, 7 and 8) or between Large Commercial, Industrial and Irrigation accounts (Schedules 9, 19, 24 and 84). Schedule 5 Time-of-Day accounts are not eligible to receive credits.
If multiple service agreements are eligible for aggregation, excess credits must first be applied to eligible service agreements on the same rate schedule as the on-site generation/net metering service agreement. Remaining excess credits may then be applied to offset consumption at eligible service agreements on differing rate schedules in accordance with the criteria detailed above. For example, if the transfer is occurring from a Schedule 6 (Residential) service agreement to two eligible service agreements, one Schedule 1 (Residential) and the other Schedule 7 (Small General Service), you must transfer some portion of your credit to the Schedule 1 service agreement to be eligible to transfer a portion to the Schedule 7 service agreement.
It is not necessary to apply for transfer if you wish to retain all credits at the existing meter. Credits do not expire. Excess energy credits that are not transferred will remain with the current service agreement.
Each year, Idaho Power notifies customers with on-site renewable generation of this opportunity. Although you may not currently have a credit or other eligible service agreement, your service needs may change. We want to ensure that all customers who may be eligible receive this information annually. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements, or do not wish to transfer any credits from your customer generation service agreement, no action is needed.
Excess Energy Credit Transfer Request forms must be received by Idaho Power by midnight, Mountain Standard Time, Jan. 31, 2024. After reviewing the eligibility of each request, Idaho Power will execute approved transfers no later than March 31, 2024. Between the time forms are submitted (December through January) and the transfers are executed (March), energy generation and consumption will continue to occur, impacting the available balance of excess energy credits. Because it is difficult to predict exact generation and energy use, Idaho Power cannot predict the exact credit balance that will be available at the time of transfer. Therefore, we ask for the percent of the available balance you would like transferred rather than a specific amount.
When you complete the Excess Energy Credit Transfer Request form, you have the opportunity to indicate the percentage of your credit you would like transferred to each eligible service agreement. If you would only like to transfer a portion of your credit, the percentage requested for transfer can total less than 100%.
It is not necessary to apply for transfer if you wish to retain all credits at the existing meter. Credits do not expire. Excess energy credits that are not transferred will remain with the current service agreement.
If approved, we will email you to let you know. Also, you will see the transfer and transfer fees appear on your March bill statement. The transfer fee is $10 per transfer and will be applied to your customer generation service agreement. If Idaho Power determines one or more of the criteria identified in Schedule 84, 6 or 8 has not been met, you will receive notification by mail, email or phone that the request for transfer was denied.
Excess energy credits are non-transferrable in the event that a customer relocates and/or discontinues service at the point of delivery associated with the exporting system. Any unused credits will expire at the time the final bill is prepared.
Some customers do not want their generation systems, like solar panels, to export power to the electrical grid and wish to interconnect their system so they consume all energy generated on-site. However, these systems are still grid-connected and, as such, need rules in place to ensure they do not negatively impact the grid. Effective March 23, 2021, Schedule 68 outlines (1) technical solutions to prevent export; (2) an interconnection and application process so Idaho Power can verify compliance with the interconnection requirements and (3) mitigation efforts should the customer’s system export power beyond the allowable amount, referred to as the inadvertent export limits.
Under both the export and non-export options, residential (Schedule 01) and small general service (Schedule 07) generation systems are limited to a maximum AC size of 25 kilowatts (kW) (or kilovoltampere [kVA]). This limit will allow these customer groups to transition between non-export and export (by submitting an application) without making costly retrofits to their systems.
Large general service (Schedule 09), irrigation (Schedule 24) and industrial (Schedule 19) customers may install up to 100 kW (VA) AC for exporting systems. There is no limit to system size for non-exporting systems for these customer groups.
All customer generation applications will undergo a Feasibility Review to determine Idaho Power’s electrical grid’s capability to incorporate the proposed generation system and to determine if upgrades are necessary. In some cases, proposed systems may require an additional Feasibility Study to determine if upgrades or protection equipment is needed. Idaho Power will conduct Feasibility Studies for systems under 3 megawatts (MW) on a case-by-case basis. Systems over 3 MW will require additional study.
Advanced Functionality: Use of an internal transfer relay, energy management system or other customer-owned facility hardware or software system(s) to ensure power is never exported across the interconnection point.
Reverse Power Protection: Uses a reverse power relay to ensure power is never exported across the interconnection point.
Minimum Power Protection: Uses an under-power protective function to ensure a minimum amount of power is consumed at all times, and therefore, power cannot be exported.
Customers whose systems export above the allowed inadvertent export limits (three hours of the distributed energy resource’s total nameplate capacity in any 30-day period) will be notified and expected to take corrective action.
For residential (Schedule 01) and small general service (Schedule 07) customers, the inadvertent export must be rectified within 30 days. After 30 days, the customer may elect to turn off the system or move to Schedule 6 or 8 (exporting service). For Schedules other than 1 or 7, the customer must immediately open the AC disconnect until the issue that caused the export is remedied.
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