In March 2019, Idaho Power signed a contract to buy 120 megawatts (MW) of clean solar power from Jackpot Holdings, an Idaho company that plans to build a large solar-generation resource south of Twin Falls. The solar array should be complete by 2022. The price for this energy is among the lowest on record for utility-scale solar power.

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. Agreements like this one are just one way Idaho Power moves solar energy onto the electrical grid.

Other Idaho Power Solar Contracts

Idaho Power has federally mandated contracts with 19 other commercial solar-energy projects that have a combined capacity of 316 MW. These 19 agreements comply with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which requires utilities like Idaho Power to buy all energy generated by certain facilities.

Idaho Power does not own or operate these projects.

Customer Generation

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.

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.
  • 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.

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