We know COVID-19 is creating financial hardship for some of our customers, and we’re committed to making sure they have electricity during this uncertain time. To help, IID will not disconnect electricity to any customers for non-payment, until further notice. Customers who are behind on payment will still owe IID for services provided, however they will not be disconnected during this state of emergency. Please visit our COVID-19 page for more information.
Making an energy efficiency investment in your home is an important decision that should be made with careful thought and consideration. Below are some questions frequently asked by customers interested in going solar. Should you have any additional questions please contact IID's Office of Distribution Interconnection at 1-760-482-3439.
System prices vary based on size and technology. According to www.solar-estimate.org, the current average installed cost ($)/watt for a residential solar electric system in California is $3.18/watt and the average system size is roughly 5,000 watts; therefore, the average residential photovoltaic system will cost roughly $16,000.
Ask your contractor:
How long will it take to recover your investment?
How much are you estimated to pay IID on an annual basis?
Who is responsible for the maintenance/repair costs?
Is solar free?
Certain solar contractors may offer you "free installation" and/or "zero due" at signing. However, please review the contract in its entirety as most contracts include fixed or variable monthly payments over the course of a determined number of years. A thorough analysis/calculation of all involved costs should be completed in order to truly determine if the presented contract is beneficial to you.
How will a rooftop solar system impact my monthly energy bill?
Under IID’s new Net Billing Program, customers are billed regularly for any energy used from the grid and compensated for any excess energy generated and put back on the grid. The current rate of compensation is about 6.98c/kWh, the same price that IID pays utility-scale solar contractors for their energy.
What are the different financing options?
There are many ways to help finance the installation of a solar system for your home. Buying, leasing and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) are the three most popular choices.
Buying a solar system Purchasing a solar system for your home means paying for the system up front or financing your purchase through a bank loan. You own the system and are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the system. The purchase of a system may help increase the value of your home and provide tax credits and other deductions.
Leasing a solar system
Leasing a solar system for your home is just like leasing a car. You pay monthly to use it over a specified period of time and you enjoy the benefit of electricity produced by the system. Ideally, you would pay less for the energy produced by the system over the term of the lease than you would have paid for the same amount of energy from IID. Actual results may vary.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)
PPAs are similar to leases because the homeowner pays for the energy produced by the system, but not for the system itself. The difference is that lease payments are about the same every month whereas PPAs vary each month based on the amount of energy produced by the system. Under a PPA, a customer pays only for what is produced during a given month, and will therefore pay more in summer than in winter.
A solar contractor came to my door and said they work with IID, is that true?
There are many solar contractors doing business in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys. If you choose to do business with a solar contractor, that contractor will “work with” IID to submit the proper documentation for your project, but IID does not partner with nor endorse any particular contractor. Even with the help of a solar contractor, you are ultimately responsible to obtain the proper building permit from your local jurisdiction (city/county) and to submit the required interconnection application to IID.
Which solar electric contractor should I use?
When selecting a solar electric contractor it is important to do your homework. The Contractors State License Board (www.cslb.ca.gov 800-321-2752) recommends you acquire at least three bids from three different contractors. The California Energy Commission maintains an official database of solar installers, contractors and sellers. Be proactive – get recommendations from friends or neighbors that have solar and research companies online.
It’s recommended you:
Interview a minimum of three potential contractors and obtain a written bid from each.
Take your time to review your contract before you sign it.
Understand and be comfortable with the assumptions that are built into your contract.
Compare your 12 month consumption history with the estimated solar production of your system.
What size of system should I install?
Customers use energy differently. Make sure your system is sized appropriately. You can install a system large enough to offset only up to 100 percent of your previous 12 month electric usage, as measured in kilowatt hours. Begin by requesting your 12 month consumption history by contacting our customer service center at 1-800-303-7756. Some customers choose to offset a portion of their energy use, others choose to offset most or all of their energy; this is entirely up to you. Armed with your consumption history you can work with your contractor to determine the best system size for your needs.
There are also a variety of solar calculators available to help you in the process. Following are some helpful links:
This Solar & Wind Estimator will estimate the size and cost to install an energy system for your home or building. Technology options include solar electric (PV), solar water heating, pool or spa heating, space heating & cooling, and wind turbines.
Estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, small building owners, installers and manufacturers to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations.
Keep in mind summer consumption is very high in IID’s service area due to your HVAC load. Understand what your solar system will produce over the course of the entire 12 months.
How does IID track my solar activity?
As part of the interconnection process, IID will replace your existing meter with a bi-directional meter. This meter provides IID with both Net Consumption (the amount of kWh energy that IID supplies to you) and Net Generation (the amount of unused generated energy that your premise does not use and is sent back to the IID's electric grid).
What is an Interconnection Agreement and how do I get one?
An Interconnection Agreement is a legal document between the customer and Imperial Irrigation District that gives permission to the customer to install a system to offset their energy use. The Interconnection Agreement addresses technical and practical aspects of connecting the solar generator to the electrical grid. It is applied for prior to installing or modifying a solar electric system. An approval to proceed is required prior to any work being done on the system. Final permission to operate is issued after the system has been installed, final documentation has been approved, the system has been inspected, and the customer has read and agreed to all of the terms and conditions of interconnection. In addition, the customer will choose a billing preference either monthly or annual. To view the interconnection form and review all terms and conditions visit www.iid.com/solar.