KEC Community Solar Project
Many of our members like the idea of solar power. KEC’s energy experts can give members advice on managing energy use and answer questions about how to add renewable energy to their homes. When you become a KEC member, you find more than power. You find a local connection.
In 2017, we constructed our Community Solar Project. The 50KW solar array is located in Worley and was partially funded through a $50,000 grant from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. KEC members may purchase individual units for $475. Each unit represents a portion of the energy produced by the solar array. The solar array is divided into 288 units and each unit is expected to generate approximately 234 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. KEC takes care of all the costs including maintenance and insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does community solar work? It’s pretty simple. KEC takes care of the design, installation, maintenance and insurance. Members purchase units that represent ownership in a portion of the energy produced by the solar array for the 25 year life of the system. It makes it easy for members to participate in solar power. Each participating member will receive a monthly energy credit in the form of kilowatt-hours (the cost is valued at approximately $.08 per kWh) based on the estimated production of the array. The energy production generated by the system each month will be divided into 288 units and members will receive a kWh credit on their bill according to the number of units they own.
- Why did KEC initiate this program? The KEC Board and management team recognize that this project will provide our members with a simple, cost effective alternative to putting solar panels on their roofs while still promoting clean, renewable energy.
- How was the cost of a unit determined? We based it on the actual direct costs of the project such as engineering, construction, insurance and the expected operation and maintenance costs for the life of the system. It is being offered to participating members at cost.
- What are the benefits of participating? It doesn’t require home ownership, eliminates proper siting requirements that may be tough to obtain at a member’s home and minimizes investment. The units are transferable if you move within KEC’s service territory and the program allows members to invest in clean, renewable energy.
- What are the financial benefits of community solar? Typically solar power has a long-term payback. Currently, investments in solar power are more about supporting renewable energy. We were able to leverage a $50,000 grant from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to help offset some of the cost of building the array. Members who purchase units in the community solar project will be purchasing energy at around $.08 per kWh for the next 25 years.
- Are there energy tax credits available for the panels? Typically community solar projects do not qualify for state and federal tax credits due to the passive nature of the ownership structure. That said, there have been cases where individuals were granted the 30% federal tax credit through a Private Letter Ruling from the IRS. We suggest participants consult their tax advisors about any potential tax incentives.
- How can I monitor the output of my unit(s)? Members may view the solar array’s energy production online when it is live.
- Why is the program designated for 25 years? Because that is the expected life of the solar panels.
- What if I move? Can I take my units with me? You may keep your unit(s) as long as you stay within KEC’s service territory. Participating members will receive an energy credit on their bill and therefore must have an active account with KEC. If you move outside of the service territory, you may transfer the unit(s) to another active KEC member or KEC will buy back the unit(s) at a pro-rated price.
To purchase a unit(s) please complete and return the application and agreement below along with a check for the total participation fee. Contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208.765.1200.
Community Solar Fact Sheet