Idaho Power Co. hope solar will solve rural voltage issues
RICHFIELD, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho power company is experimenting with solar power in hopes of getting steady voltage to the state’s most rural users.
The Times-News reports Idaho Power Co. is helping to maintain voltage for 13 farm and ranching customers through solar panels north of Shoshone.
“We’re able to provide voltage supply by generating energy locally,” said Patrick Perry, one of the electrical engineers for Idaho Power Co. who helped get the project in place. “In this situation, it works because we’re out of alternative solutions.”
The company had already been looking at local generation as a solution for this kind of situation, but hadn’t identified an area where it was needed and could be implemented.
Phil Anderson, another electrical engineer for the company, had been watching the prices of solar panels drop. Perry helped identify the site for the project, and the panels were installed in October 2016.
Perry has been analyzing the system over the past year to see if it’s doing what it should.
“We’ve got some pretty definitive metrics that say it has increased the voltage out there to those 13 customers,” he said.
The 18-kilowatt project supplies enough power to maintain voltage, but the power usage from those customers still exceeds that production.
“This is the first time it’s ever been done, to my knowledge,” Perry said. “It took a lot of convincing ourselves and management that this was something we needed to move forward with.”
Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com