National politics got you worried about our air quality and climate? Now is a great time to come together as a community to protect the air you breathe, the water you drink and the places you love. Subscribing to Idaho’s first community solar project is one way to act locally with global impact.
ICL spent the summer negotiating a new type of solar product for Idaho, community solar. We are excited by the resulting agreement among Idaho Power, Idaho Public Utilities Commission staff, and other stakeholders. This agreement gives many Idahoans a new opportunity to support clean energy.
Local Actions Speak Loudest
At ICL, we make progress by bringing together local communities to find solutions that protect our home. For decades, we have worked toward a cleaner energy future for our state. Together we stopped coal plants proposed for Idaho, created programs to help homes and businesses save energy and money, and ushered in cleaner energy sources like the geothermal, wind and solar dotted across southern Idaho.
This progress didn’t come from top-down federal mandates; rather, it came from showing Idahoans that clean energy is reliable, affordable and abundant. If we invest in Idaho’s sunshine, wind and geothermal instead of spending millions importing dirty energy, we can protect our air and grow our economy.
Community solar is your chance to show Idaho that a clean energy future is here to stay. For the first time, you can choose a cleaner source when you subscribe to the community solar project. Act locally to avoid fossil fuel pollution that is changing our climate-your action will have global impact.
What Is Community Solar?
Solar power comes in many forms. Individuals can install a handful of panels on a rooftop to meet their own needs. Developers can install acres of panels to sell to a utility. Community solar sits in the middle-a midsize project operated by a utility on behalf of local users.
Why Do We Need Community Solar?
Today, Idaho gets 40% or more of our power from fossil fuels like coal. Burning coal pollutes our air and changes our climate. Community solar provides a reliable, affordable and secure clean energy option for Idaho:
- Solar is reliable-We enjoy abundant sunshine to power the panels just when we need that power for air conditioning. Solar power complements our flexible hydroelectric system to maintain a consistent energy supply.
- Solar is affordable-At about $1.75 a watt, a community solar subscription is likely the least expensive option for going solar in Idaho.
- Solar is secure-Generating power locally avoids the need for long-distance powerlines and far-flung plants. Community solar keeps our energy dollars local.
Who Benefits Most from Community Solar?
If you want local, clean energy but panels on your roof are not possible or affordable, community solar is right for you! For renters, people with shaded roofs, businesses that lease, or anyone without several thousand dollars to invest, a rooftop system just doesn’t make sense.
Community solar solves these problems. The plant is located where it can collect the most sunshine. If you rent, you can take your subscription with you as you move within the region. And because you can buy one or more subscriptions, you can "right size" your solar share to meet your budget.
What Do I Get from a Subscription?
Each subscription entitles you to one share which is the output of one solar panel for 25 years. Each month, Idaho Power measures your share and provides solar credits on your bill. You can take your subscription with you if you move while remaining an Idaho Power customer. Or you can transfer your subscription to someone else if you leave the area. Basically, you get 25 years of clean energy.
With community solar, you can choose the number of shares that works for you. Each share is a one-time payment of $562 or 24 monthly payments of $26.31.
On average, each share gives you 55 kilowatt hours of credits a month-in the winter, you get slightly fewer credits; in the summer, you get more. You can buy multiple subscriptions up to an amount equal to your average energy use.
How Does the Solar Energy Credit Work?
Each month, you get credit on your power bill for your share of the community solar project. To calculate the credits, Idaho Power uses the portion of our electric rates that represents the utility’s costs of producing energy. Today, that cost is fairly low because of our fleet of hydroelectric dams and aging coal plants. But those costs are rising every year. The value of your solar credits will change over time, effectively insulating you from rising power costs. So while the credits may seem low today, their value will increase in the future.
Sound Good? Time to Subscribe!
If Idaho Power provides your electricity, sign up now for your 25-year stream of Idaho solar power.