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.
Idaho Power Buys Solar Energy
As of 2019, Idaho Power has contracts with 19 commercial solar projects, representing 316 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.
A number of our customers have installed solar systems on their homes or businesses to offset some of their electricity usage. If you are considering solar power, here’s some important information.
Idaho Power Uses Rooftop Solar
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.
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
- Donated a 2.7-kilowatt array (36 75-watt PV modules) to the Foothills Learning Center
- Installed an 18.5-kilowatt array to boost voltage on a remote distribution line near Shoshone, Idaho (video)
- Operates a Solar-Enhanced Lighting™ system in one of its downtown Boise parking lots. 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.