Tuesday June 16 2015

New Subscriber Solar Program Will Offer Affordable Convenient Way to Use Renewable Energy

Filed Under:
News Release
Rocky Mountain Power

SALT LAKE CITY — Rocky Mountain Power plans to offer a new program that allows customers to subscribe to receive some or all of their electricity from the power of the sun. The Blue Sky subscriber solar program gives customers a choice to use solar even if they cannot afford rooftop solar panels or do not want them on their home.

“The subscriber solar program provides a way to buy solar energy from a new solar resource right here in Utah,” said Lucky Morse, Subscriber Solar Project Manager. “Our customers have told us they want more choices for renewable energy and subscriber solar is a convenient, affordable option.”

Rocky Mountain Power will fund the building of at least 15 megawatts of solar power here in Utah to be used for the new program. Customers will be able to sign up for a two, five, seven or ten year commitment for part or all of their electricity needs.

Participants will be able to subscribe in 200-kilowatt hour blocks up to their total usage. Residential customers will receive a “locked-in” generation of approximately 8.8 cents per kilowatt hour, plus about 4 cents for transmission and distribution, totaling about 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour. These rates are estimates and could change based on the final cost of solar projects, which will be built following a competitive bid process.

For example, a typical Utah customer uses 742 kilowatt hours monthly and would pay an additional $3.50 each month for one block. The same typical customer would pay an additional $16.66 each month for three blocks to have nearly all of their power provided from the subscriber solar program. The benefits and costs of the program will vary depending on how much electricity a customer uses.

“Some high-energy users will actually pay less money for their energy in the summer when electricity costs are higher,” added Morse. “The ‘locked-in” rate could also be a hedge if electricity prices rise in the future.”

The subscriber solar program is a great alternative for people who are renting, cannot afford solar panels or have homes that are not suited for rooftop solar. Subscribers will not have to pay upfront costs, make long-term commitments or deal with the ongoing maintenance of installed solar panels.

The voluntary program will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers will be able to sign up to be on a notification list and will then be able to subscribe if the program is approved by the Utah Public Service Commission. Subscribers would pay a termination fee if they cancel before the term of their agreement.

The subscriber solar program will not affect prices for those who choose not to participate. The program will also be available for commercial and industrial customers.

The subscriber solar program will be a new option under Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Program. For 15 years, the Blue Sky program has provided an easy and convenient way for customers to support renewable energy development in the western U.S. The original Blue Sky program allows customers to purchase renewable energy certificates and help fund new renewable energy projects in their state.

“With Blue Sky, you now have two options: you can support new renewable energy through our original Blue Sky program, or use solar energy through our Blue Sky subscriber solar program,” said Morse.

Rocky Mountain Power has sent out a request for proposals to build the 15 megawatt solar project, with a minimum of two megawatts for each project. Customers can get more details and sign up to receive updates about the program at rockymountainpower.net/subscriber.

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