Right now, Idaho homeowners who install rooftop solar panels receive credits for any extra energy they generate. But Idaho Power is looking to change that system, setting up a fight between the company and solar power advocates.
Known as net metering, the compensation system that began in 1983 is one of the main incentives for new solar customers. After the upfront installation costs of panels, homeowners can, in effect, sell the excess power generated by their rooftops back to the grid.
Now, Idaho Power is asking the state Public Utilities Commission to look into how the compensation system works. At issue is whether folks with on-site solar generation should continue to be treated as regular customers who purchase their electricity from the grid. As solar power has become more popular and affordable in recent years, other states have also taken a harder look at their net metering systems.
Thursday in Boise, the public will have their first of two chances to weigh in at a commission meeting. The second meeting is set for March 5 in Pocatello, and written comments will be accepted through March 8.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, people who receive solar credits were mistakenly referred to as receiving payment for surplus energy generated by their rooftop solar system. In fact, surplus energy is banked as a kilowatt hour credit, not monetary credit.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio