The declining cost of solar technology along with tax incentives and other factors have contributed to an increase in the popularity of solar-generated electricity in recent years. Solar energy is delivered to the electrical grid in a variety of ways.

There’s potential for customer-owned power generation systems, coupled with power storage devices, to become sufficiently cost-effective and efficient. With that in mind, an increasing number of our customers may choose to install such systems on their homes or businesses.

Independent Power Producers

As of 2017, Idaho Power had contracts with 18 commercial solar projects, representing 313 megawatts of nameplate capacity. These are 20-year contracts under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, which requires utilities like Idaho Power to purchase all the energy generated by certain facilities.

Idaho Power does not own or operate these projects.

Community Solar Pilot Program

Idaho Power submitted a proposal to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) to launch a Community Solar Pilot Program.

Idaho Power Photovoltaic Arrays in Boise and Twin Falls

Our Boise corporate headquarters’ photovoltaic (PV) array, installed in 1994, is a 25-kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar system. The electricity created helps power the building and provides enough energy to operate all the computers on a single floor — just over 100 kilowatt-hours per day.

A similar-sized system was installed on our Twin Falls Operations Center in 2016.

The amount of electricity generated varies significantly depending on the season and amount of sunlight, as you can see from these graphs of sunny-day generation versus cloudy-day generation.

Solar in Idaho Power’s Daily Operations

Idaho Power uses small PV panels in its daily operations to power equipment used for checking water quality, measuring stream flows and operating cloud-seeding equipment.

In addition to these PV installations, Idaho Power:

  • Participates in the Solar 4R Schools program
  • Has a mobile solar trailer to supply power for concerts, radio remotes and other events
  • Operates a 200-watt solar water pump to demonstrate and promote PV technology
  • Donated a 2.7-kilowatt array (36 75-watt PV modules) to the Foothills Learning Center in 2005
  • Owns a Solar-Enhanced Lighting™ system in one of its downtown Boise parking lots, in partnership with Boise-based Inovus. The system was installed in July 2013 and is designed to produce as much energy during the day as the lights consume at night while illuminating the parking lot.
  • Participated in installing solar panels at Celebration Park, near Melba, Idaho. The panels supply electricity to the park’s outdoor lighting and visitor center, with any additional power going back to the electrical grid.

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