Something new is sprouting in the Heber Valley this spring – thanks to a forward-thinking local utility, Heber Valley businesses will be able to farm the sun to produce their own homegrown solar electricity.
Heber Light and Power is a community owned municipal utility that is over 100 years old, but the utility is looking to the future to capitalize on cost effective, clean new sources of energy. Changes to the municipal utilities’ rules will give Heber Light and Power customers more choice about where their electricity comes from while also spurring private investments in local, clean energy resources.
First, Heber Light & Power expanded their existing Net Metering program to include small commercial customers. Net metering was previously only available to residential customers, but now Small General Service Customers may install up to 25 kilowatts of solar (or enough capacity to offset 90% of their energy usage, whichever is lower).
Customers looking to go bigger than 25 kilowatts can take advantage of the new Solar Power Sales Pilot Program, which allows customers to build solar installations of up to 250 kilowatts and sign a long-term contract to sell electricity to the utility at a base rate of 6 cents per kilowatt hour. Heber Light and Power will assess the unique costs and benefits associated with each solar project and may adjust the base rate up or down in order to compensate customers for the specific value they provide to the utility. Solar installations can provide value for all utility customers not only by offsetting existing generation or energy purchases, but also by deferring future capital investments in generation or distribution system upgrades. By signing long-term power purchase contracts, Heber Light and Power is also protecting all customers from fuel price fluctuations and energy price increases. Customers interested in the Solar Power Sales Pilot Program are encouraged to meet with Heber Light and Power personnel to learn how the utility may be able to enhance the base rate paid for their solar power.