Rocky Mountain Power's net metering program measures the difference between the electricity a customer buys from the utility and the energy generated by the customer using their own solar panel system.
There are three tiers within the Rocky Mountain Power net metering program, each with their own requirements for interconnecting a solar panel system. Tier 1 is less than 25 kilowatts (kW), which is the tier most residential units fall under. Tier 2 is for inverter-based systems between 25 kW and 2 megawatts; Tier 3 is for non-inverter based systems between 25 kilowatts and 2 megawatts.The current rate in Idaho averages 9.5861 cents/kWh along with a customer service charge of $5.00 per month. When an Idaho net metering customer sends excess energy generation back to the grid, they will receive 9.5861 cents per kWh generated.The current rate in Utah is 8.8498 cents/kWh along with a single phase charge of $6.00/month. Through Rocky Mountain Power's net metering program in Utah, each excess kWh generated by a solar panel system is exchanged for a net metering credit of 8.8498 cents.The current rate in Wyoming is 2.713 cents/kWh for zero to 500 kWh and 9.037 cents/kWh for usage above 500 kWh. The basic charge per month is $20. Net metering credits are valued at 2.713 cents for each kWh of excess energy generated.
|State||Customer type||System size||Electricity rate schedule|
|Idaho||Residential||Less than 25 kW||9.5861 cents/kWh|
|Utah||Residential||Less than 25 kW||8.8498 cents/kWh|
|Wyoming||Residential||Less than 25 kW||2.713 cents/kWh|
The net metering cap designates the maximum amount of customer-sited energy generating resources that can take subscribes of a net metering program.Idaho has an individual system capacity limit of 25kW for residential and small commercial users and 100 kW for all others. There is no aggregate capacity limit for utilities in the state.Utah has an individual system capacity limit of 25 kW for residential users and 2 MW for all other users. The cap for Rocky Mountain Power’s net metering program is 20 percent of 2007 peak demand, or approximately 480 MW.Wyoming has an individual system capacity limit of 25 kW but no specified net metering cap.
|State||Cap (%)||Cap (MW)|
|Utah||20% of peak 2007 demand||480 MW|
Rocky Mountain Power offers net metering to customers in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming at a competitive rate.
In Idaho, there is no overlap between service areas for Rocky Mountain Power and the state’s other large energy suppliers, Avista Utilities and Idaho Power. As a result, location is the most significant factor determining the best net metering program. However, Rocky Mountain Power is the best for renewable energy generally due to its Blue Sky program that supports renewable energy development for those unable to install a solar panel system on their own property.
Rocky Mountain Power is the largest utility in Utah, providing more than 80 percent of the electricity in the state. Other customers get their power from municipal utilities known as Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) or rural cooperatives. Rocky Mountain Power offers the best net metering option in Utah – it is the largest and most robust utility that has the ability to offer net metering to customers now, while UAMPS is still in the process of creating a rate structure for its customers.
Other energy suppliers in Wyoming include Black Hills Energy. This utility also offers net metering, but their program has more of a focus on residential cost offsets than promoting the use of renewable energy such as solar panel systems. Rocky Mountain Power is the best in Wyoming because it has more of a commitment to renewable energy. Its net metering program as a whole generates more applications and usage.
If a customer produces and sends less energy back to the grid than they use, the customer will be billed the difference at the standard service rate. However, if the customer produces more electricity than they use in a month, they will be billed appropriate monthly charges and financially credited for the amount of excess generated energy at the standard service rate, which is currently 9.5861 cents/kWh. Credits can be carried forward indefinitely.
When customers generate more energy than they use in a month, the customer will be billed the appropriate monthly charges and credited for net metering energy with a cumulative kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit on their bill. The credit is applied to the next month’s bill. The value of net metering credits is determined for residential customers by the current rates in schedules 1, 2, or 3. All unused credits expire in March of each year.
Customers who produce more electricity than they use in a month will be billed the appropriate monthly charges and credited for each kWh of excess energy generation. These credits appear on the bill for the following month and are currently valued at a rate of 2.713 cents/kWh. Net metering credits do not expire. At the beginning of every calendar year, unused credited are sold to Rocky Mountain Power at the average wholesale energy rate for winter and summer, which is determined in Schedule 37 avoided cost rate. The current “avoided cost” rate is approximately 3 cents/kWh.
Rocky Mountain Power does not offer rebates for customers to install solar panels at their property. However, the utility offers the Blue Sky renewable energy program that allows customers to support renewable energy development by paying $1.95/month to help bring new renewable energy facilities online. This option is especially desirable for customers without the means to install a solar panel system.
“Interconnection” refers to the process of connecting a solar power system to Rocky Mountain Power's grid. From start to finish, the interconnection process takes about 70 days. Customers are responsible for all costs associated with any modifications that may be required to interconnect to the larger grid.
For residential customers, a solar panel generation facility will usually fall into the Tier 1 category. Tier 1 properties have a maximum capacity of 25 kW and must be located on the customer's property. To connect, a customer must submit an Interconnection Agreement, which includes:
Once submitted, Rocky Mountain Power reviews the agreement and application and sends written notification of approval to the customer by either mail or email. Once the approval is received, the net metering system will be installed.
After installation, the net metering system must be inspected by the local city or council inspector. The solar panel system’s net meter can be turned on after Rocky Mountain Power provides notification the interconnection process has been completed and the net meter installed. The application for customers in all states is the same except that a diagram is not required for customers in Utah and Wyoming if their system is smaller than 10kW; in Idaho, all interconnection applications must include a diagram.
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