Understanding Customer Generation

Idaho Power supports solar energy and fair prices for all. Customers who install their own generation sources — usually solar, but also wind, hydropower, geothermal or fuel cells — can offset some or all of their energy needs. Customers remain connected to Idaho Power’s grid, drawing energy any time they aren’t producing their own power or need more than they can produce.

When certain customers (those billed under Schedules 6, 8 and 84) generate more energy than they need, they send it to Idaho Power’s grid. Energy use is measured and billed under a real-time net billing structure that measures and charges customers for all kWh consumed from the grid at the retail rate, and measures and compensates customers for all kWh exported to the grid at a time differentiated export credit rate (ECR).

Pricing for Customers with On-site Generation

Effective January 1, 2024, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) implemented several changes to Idaho Power’s on-site generation offering, including the following for Idaho customers:

  • Billing will change from net monthly billing to real-time net billing. This change to the measurement interval means that customer’s grid usage will be measured separately from their excess generation. The grid usage will be billed under the customer’s applicable retail rate, while the customer’s exported energy will receive a value-based credit.
  • The export credit rate (ECR) will change from a kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit, valued around 10 cents for residential customers, to a financial bill credit ranging from approximately 4.8 to 17 cents per kWh, depending on the time of day the energy is sent to the grid. The ECR value will be updated annually beginning in spring of 2025.
  • kWh credits accrued before the new structure is implemented will carry forward and be applied throughout 2024 as they would have prior to the change. On December 31, 2024, any remaining kWh credits will be converted to a financial credit using a blended average retail energy rate for the customer’s class.
  • The annual credit transfer eligibility requirements for non-legacy customers are different, as those customers may transfer excess credits to other accounts in their name where the energy is for their own use.
  • The system eligibility size cap will be modified for some customers, as the project size cap for commercial, industrial, and irrigation customers will be the greater of 100 kW or that customer’s demand. The energy storage capacity will be excluded from the determination of a project size cap for all customers.

Find more details in our FAQs under “Recent Changes to On-Site Generation.” 

Idaho Power’s on-site generation tariffs, as with all other tariffs, are not contracts and are subject to change at any time upon order of the IPUC. Changes to the on-site generation tariffs in the future may include, but are not limited to, modifications to rates, billing components, billing structure, compensation structure, and the value for excess energy produced by the customer’s on-site generation system (and thus, the amount a customer would be compensated). This is consistent with the Idaho Residential Energy System Disclosure Act, which requires solar retailers to provide a disclosure reminding potential customers that legislative or regulatory actions can affect or eliminate one’s ability to sell or get credit for any excess power generated by the system and may affect the price or value of that power.

If you have questions about how to read your on-site generation bill, watch this tutorial video:

Legacy Status for Idaho On-Site Generation

Idaho Residential and Small General Service schedules: In orders 34509 and 43546, the IPUC granted Legacy status to on-site generation systems that were installed or purchased by December 20, 2019. Additional eligibility criteria for Legacy status were outlined in the orders. Legacy systems will take service under the Schedule 6 and Schedule 8 tariff rules in place on December 20, 2019 until December 20, 2045.

Idaho Large General Service, Irrigation, and Large Power schedules: In order 34854, the IPUC granted Legacy status to on-site generation systems that were installed or purchased by December 1, 2020. Additional eligibility criteria for Legacy status were outlined in the orders. Legacy systems will take service under the Schedule 84 tariff rules in place on December 1, 2020, until December 1, 2045.

Find more details in our FAQs under “Recent Changes to On-Site Generation.” 

Customer Generation Eligibility and Pricing

Customers approved to generate their own electricity are billed under different pricing policies, often called rate schedules (or tariffs). Use the chart below, to find your rate schedule or view all rate schedules. Note: Rate schedules are currently being updated after completion of Idaho Power’s general rate case in Idaho.

Current Schedules Eligible for Customer Generation Applicable Schedule with Customer Generation Allowable Amount of Nameplate Capacity Connected
Idaho Residential (Schedule 1) Idaho Residential Service On-site Generation (Schedule 6) Up to 25 kilowatts
Idaho Small General Service (Schedule 7) Idaho Small General Service On-Site Generation (Schedule 8) Up to 25 kilowatts
Oregon Residential (Schedule 1) and Small General Service (Schedule 7) Large General, Large Power and Irrigation On-Site Generation Service (Schedule 84)* Up to 25 kilowatts
Idaho Large General Service (Schedule 9), Large Power (Schedule 19) and Irrigation (Schedule 24). Large General, Large Power and Irrigation On-Site Generation Service (Schedule 84) Less or equal to the greater of: (a) of the greatest monthly Billing Demand established during the most recent 12-month period or (b) 100 kW
Oregon Large General (Schedule 9), Large Power (Schedule 19) and Irrigation (Schedule 24) Large General, Large Power and Irrigation On-Site Generation Service (Schedule 84)* Up to 100 kW

*Oregon customers will temporarily take service under the version of Schedule 84 that was in effect on December 18, 2023, which affects how the total DER size is calculated. See our FAQs for more details.

For inverter-based generation sources, the nameplate capacity is defined as the AC nameplate rating of the inverter. For non-inverter-based generation sources, the nameplate capacity is defined as the nameplate rating of the generation source (example: nameplate rating of the turbine).

For non-exporting projects that will not transfer energy to the electrical grid, the maximum size for residential and small general service is 25 kW AC. There is no size limit for large general service, large power, and irrigation. See our FAQs for more information or Schedule 68 for requirements.

2024 Change to Inverter Requirements

Effective January 1, 2024, all new Customer Generation applications will be required to use UL 1741-SB certified inverters for inverter-based systems, including AC-coupled batteries with built-in inverters. Read our FAQs for more information.

Technical Requirements

Solar, wind and other on-site generation sources must be installed safely. There are specific equipment requirements and designs depending on your rate schedule and size of system.

Schedule 68 Interconnections to Customer Distributed Energy Resources applies to all rate schedules and outlines the interconnection requirements and application process.

Find additional details about installation and testing requirements, including sample single-line diagrams, in Supplemental Interconnection Information for Customer Distributed Energy Resources.

Note: Currently, AC-coupled batteries count toward the capacity limits for Oregon customers. Read our FAQs for details.

Making changes to an existing service will require the service to comply with the current Customer Requirements for Electric Service, including requirements for service and panel upgrades and meter accessibility.

See the Idaho Division of Building Safety’s safety bulletin warning about plug and play inverters.

Ready to Install?

Find application forms here.

Questions?

Check out our FAQs, or contact a Customer Solutions Advisors for help at 1-800-632-6605 or cg@haldenbach21.com.

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For assistance with a PDF on this page or to request a PDF in an alternate format, please contact Customer Service at 208-388-2323 or 1-800-488-6151