Idaho Power is seeking approval of a pilot program to offer community solar subscriptions to a 500-kW system. The program would allow Idaho Power to charge subscription fees to customers and provide participants with a monthly bill credit. Idaho Power would charge a one-time, upfront subscription fee based on the costs of constructing and operating the facility, equal to about $740 for a 320-W panel. Subscriptions would be limited to 100% of a customer’s annual usage and could last up to 25 years. Customers would receive a bill credit for fuel costs in riders and base rates, attributable to their subscription level.
While Idaho Power would own the array, it has proposed offsetting its costs through (among other proposals) a 15% shareholder equity contribution, so that it does not earn a return on the investment.
In August 2015, the Public Utilities Commission allowed Idaho Power to reduce the term of PURPA contracts from 20 years to two years, primarily due to the large volume of solar QFs connected to and proposed to be connected to Idaho Power’s system.