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Solar Power

Member Generated Power

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More than 500 OPALCO members are generating renewable energy tied to the OPALCO electric grid. You can produce renewable energy at your home or business and become an interconnected member with solar, wind, micro-hydro or other small-scale renewable resources.

Getting Started

Preapproval for interconnection to the OPALCO grid is required. Please review the entire Interconnect Packet before continuing.

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Download the Interconnect Packet.

This packet includes all of the policies, forms, and incentive details you need to get started. The Interconnect Packet includes the following documents:

  • Interconnect Application
  • Agreement for Interconnection
  • Member Service Policy 14: Interconnection of Member Generators
  • OPALCO Interconnection Standards for Installation of Member Generators
  • List of local installers

Download the Interconnect Packet Here

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Review the policy

The policy covers interconnection of any member owned generating facilities, storage facilities or other facilities supplying energy to the OPALCO grid.

Please read Member Service Policy 13 for more information.

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Fill out the application and agreement

Pay special attention to requirements. For example, projects must meet OPALCO Interconnect Standards. Presently, 200 kilowatts is the maximum size for a system.

How Interconnection Works

The most common topic we discuss with new Member Generators is how OPALCO keeps track of their locally generated power, and how generated and consumed kWhs are reflected on their monthly bill.

An important point to understand is Member Generators have two separate meters – a billing meter and a production meter.

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Billing Meter

A Member Generator’s billing meter is the meter presented on their monthly OPALCO bill.  It measures two things:

  • The flow of electricity from the grid toward the house (power the household consumes from OPALCO)
  • The flow of electricity “backward” (what their renewable system feeds back to the OPALCO grid when the system produces more power than the household needs)

When you deliver energy to the grid, you will receive a credit on your next bill. This will be noted on your bill as a Generation Credit. You will carry that credit until you use it all up and start consuming more power than you are generating.

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Production Meter

The production meter accounts for every kWh the member’s renewable system generates. This meter reading represents total kWhs produced and is indifferent to the way the power is distributed (whether to the member’s home or to the OPALCO grid).

If the member participates in state and local production incentive programs, OPALCO obtains a reading from the member’s production meter annually on June 30th to calculate the incentives.

Current Incentives

Applications for the WA State Renewable Energy incentive pool have reached the Washington state-defined cap. The program is administered by the Washington State University Energy Program

NOTE: Incentive payouts will be decreased proportionally among production incentive applications beginning in 2014. For more information, see the Washington State Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Incentive.

 

State Incentives

UPDATE 3/29/2018:

OPALCO has been notified by Washington State University, on behalf of the State of WA, that they will no longer be processing any new applications that were received after 3/28/2018 for certification for the Renewable Energy System Incentive Program. Information about the program is displayed below, and we hope future programs will emerge from the legislature. Contact your local State congress representatives, and learn about the legislative committees to influence new renewable incentive legislation.

WA State Renewable Energy System Incentive Program. The state production base incentive rates range from $0.02/kWh to $.21/kWh, and the incentive rate is higher for modules and inverters manufactured in the State of Washington.

The program is administered by the Washington State University (WSU) Energy Program. They have a $125 application fee, and require details about the system, along with a signed interconnect agreement with OPALCO. A Frequently Asked Questions document can be found on their website. New systems can be certified online through the WSU website, and questions about the program can be directed to solarprogram@energy.wsu.edu, or by calling (360) 956-2200.

The WA State Incentives are calculated by WSU based off production meter reads provided by OPALCO annually. Incentives are paid based on certification information provided by WSU.

Incentives through this program are not guaranteed by OPALCO. New systems may not be certified if the certification is likely to result in exceeding the State-defined available funding amount of $250,000, or 1.5% of OPALCO’s taxable power sales in calendar year 2014. Please contact WSU with questions.

NOTE: This incentive is capped by the State at $5,000 per year for each Member Generator and $250,000 per year in total incentive payouts for OPALCO.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Total applications for state incentives exceeded the $100,000 state-defined cap for OPALCO payouts beginning 6/30/14, and continuing into the current fiscal year. All member production incentive payments are now being decreased proportionally. The amount of the decreases are projected below. These are estimates only, and may vary based on the size and timing of pending installations, actual production levels, and the number of applications for incentives received from member generators:

  • 6/30/14 payout factor – 92% (actual)
    Example: A $0.15 payout rate was reduced to $0.138 in 2014
  • 6/30/15 payout factor – 58% (actual)
    Example: A $0.15 payout rate was reduced to $0.087 in 2015
  • 6/30/16 payout factor – 55% (actual)
    Example: A $0.15 payout rate was reduced to $0.084 in 2016
  • 6/30/17 payout factor – 54% (actual)
    Example: A $0.15 payout rate was reduced to $0.081 in 2017
  • 6/30/18 payout factor – 55% (actual)
    WSU applied the FY2016 factor to FY2018 payouts per the legislated requirement. Payouts for FY2019 and FY2020 will have the same 55% factor applied.

Federal Tax Credits

For more information and details see www.dsireusa.org or www.energystar.gov/taxcreditsExtended through 2019.

OPALCO Member Generated Solar Power

Check out what’s going on with local power generation on the islands including where, how much and community solar generation.