Solar saves, just not as much anymore
When Hillsboro approved installation of solar panels in April, three residents installed solar panels to their homes.
Hillsboro resident Corbin Rives added solar panels on his roof, primarily to add equity to the house.
“We wanted to cut down on the electric bill,” he said. “Our electric bill isn’t really, really expensive, but it was something we wanted to save on.”
Even if glare they can cause may be annoying when he flies for Ballard Aviation, the panels power his entire home.
Natalie Jewell makes enough electricity with her solar panels to power her home, but needs city power at night because she doesn’t have a battery.
“At any given time, if there’s a really sunny day like today, I probably sold some back to the city,” Jewell said. “But overnight, I probably use more than what I sold because I use a lot more at night — running the dishwasher and the laundry.”
Extra power that solar panel owners generate can be sold back to the city at the same rate Hillsboro charges for power.
Under old policies, Hillsboro used to give credit on electric bills for the retail price of the electricity. That changed Sept. 7 after the city council voted to simply pay a wholesale 11-cents-per-kilowatt-hour rate instead.
“It definitely encourages solar, but it costs the utility pretty high,” city administrator Matt Stiles said about the old arrangement. “It gets to be problematic if we get a lot of people signing up for solar.”