Idaho Power proposes development of community solar garden

Published on July 15, 2016 by Jessica Limardo

Idaho Power recently proposed a new project for the development of a community solar garden for residential and commercial consumers who want access to solar energy, but whose rooftops are unsuitable for the technology.

The company filed two applications with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for the development of the solar garden. The energy will be added to the utility’s Green Energy Program, and will also be available to residential and commercial consumers for 25-year subscriptions.

The project has an expected generating capacity of 500 kilowatts, which can meet the needs of approximately 1,093 residential customers and 470 non-residential customers. Subscribers can purchase $740 subscriptions for a 320-watt solar panel for a 25-year period, which is the expected life of the solar project.

Idaho Power estimated that the facility would cost approximately $1.16 million to build and $81,000 to connect to the grid. Shareholders would invest $175,000, or 15 percent of the development cost, and ratepayers would be responsible for the remaining cost.

Idaho Power will not return a profit on the facility and said that the project was proposed due to consumers demand. The utility said that some of its consumers requested a community solar garden due to living in a location unsuitable for rooftop solar panel installation, such as living in a multi-unit residence, living in a shaded area or having an unsuitable rooftop.

If approved, construction will be completed by June 2017.