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Larger projects can qualify for Avista net metering program

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission recently approved a request from Avista Utilities to let larger, customer-owned generation projects qualify for the company’s net metering program.

Currently, customers owning projects up to a capacity of 25 kilowatts are eligible to receive credits for the generation they produce on solar, wind, biomass or hydropower projects. Avista has received commission approval to increase the size of projects that can qualify for the net metering rate to 100 kilowatts, the commission said in a release. A kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts.

Avista, which serves about 120,000 electric customers in northern Idaho, now has only 14 Idaho net metering customers with a collective generation capacity of 37 kilowatts, far below the 1.52-megawatt cap. A megawatt is equal to 1 million watts.

Avista said it has been approached by at least one residential customer and one commercial customer asking that the 25-kilowatt limit be expanded to 100 kilowatts, the commission said.

The commission said Avista customers who generate their own electricity can have their generation credited from their monthly billings. Those who produce more than they consume can have their excess kilowatt-hours applied to future billing periods to reduce their bills. At the end of the calendar year, any unused kilowatt-hour credits are granted to the company without compensation to the customer-generator.

Avista allows customers to enroll as net metering customers on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative generating capacity of all customers equals 1.52 megawatts or about 0.1 percent of Avista’s retail peak demand.

The case is No. AVU-E-10-02

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