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May 20 2016

BOISE – (May 19, 2016) – At least 146 Treasure Valley households have signed up for free solar power site assessments through the Solarize the Valley.org website. The Snake River Alliance rolled out its groundbreaking Solarize the Valley partnership just 10 days ago, with two private solar installers, AltEnergy Inc. and Site Based Energy. The first workshop was attended by over 75 people. Solarize the Valley offers consumers professional installation from solar companies that have agreed to pre-negotiated competitive prices for high quality, American-made solar panels.

“We are really busy right now. There is a lot of pent up demand for solar energy in Idaho”, said Wendy Wilson, interim executive director with the Snake River Alliance. “People want more control over where their energy comes from. That’s exactly why we launched Solarize the Valley.”

People in Ada and Canyon can sign up for Solarize the Valley by going to www.solarizethevalley.org until July 31, 2016. Participants are encouraged to take a digital image of their power bill and upload it online when they sign up.

The next workshop is in Canyon County, where Wilson said nearly 20 people have already signed up for a free solar assessment.

Upcoming Solarize the Valley workshops:

  • May 25 at the Caldwell Public Library at 6:30 p.m.;
  • June 8 at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Eagle at 6:30 p.m.; and
  • June 22 at the Boise Co-op at the Village in Meridian, also at 6:30 p.m.

Solarize the Valley is modeled after similar successful programs across the country, starting in Portland, Oregon. Over the past several years, many Solarize programs have operated in the Northwest, California and several eastern states.

Additional community supporters include Idaho Smart Growth, the Idaho U.S. Green Building Council, the Sierra Club, Idaho Conservation League, North End Organic Nursery, Payette Brewing Co., Wheeler Homes, Fresca, Hilton Garden Inn Eagle, the Boise Consumer Co-op, Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery, and League of Women Voters.

Get your Party Hat On! Bring the family to a Mexican Fiesta Taco Bar, RAIN OR SHINE.

Saturday, May 21, 6:00 p.m. Ann Morrison Park Old Timer’s Shelter

Meet board members, old friends, and new faces. Learn about the Solarize the Valley clean energy initiative and about the No Means No public hearing on the DOE’s idea to store nuclear waste in Idaho.

$13/adult member ($15 nonmember)
$5/ kids 12 and under.
FREE for kids under 3.

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A first-of-its-kind partnership between Idaho’s first clean energy advocacy organization and two popular solar power installers is making it easier and more affordable than ever for residential and commercial customers of Idaho Power to install solar panels on their rooftops and slash their monthly power bills.
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The Snake River Alliance has spent the past several months working with many solar installers and technical experts to prepare our new “Solarize the Valley” campaign to take a lot of the hassle and some of the costs out of going solar. Here are some of the highlights from the news release we released today:

BOISE  – (May 9, 2016) – A new program called “Solarize the Valley,” sponsored by the Snake River Alliance, is going to make rooftop solar energy more affordable and popular than ever before in the Treasure Valley, starting today. Out of the 1 million solar installations in America, less than .01% of them are in Idaho. But that’s about to change.

Rooftop solar will bloom in the Treasure Valley thanks to a groundbreaking partnership between the Alliance — Idaho’s statewide voice for clean energy — and two private solar installers, AltEnergy Inc. and Site Based Energy. These solar partners will install at least 250kW of power on rooftops and businesses in Ada and Canyon Counties in the coming year.

Solarize the Valley does much of the consumer’s homework for them – such as negotiating competitive prices for high quality, American-made solar panels. “We had a transparent process of selecting these trusted installers so our participants know they are getting a great deal,” said Wendy Wilson, interim executive director with the Snake River Alliance.

Site Based Energy, a Hailey-based firm, will work with commercial participants that sign up for Solarize the Valley. “Site Based Energy is excited to be part of this team and helping businesses and organizations reduce their energy costs,” said Project Engineer Beau Husfloen.

Residential participants will work directly with AltEnergy, a company that works in a number of states. Idaho Branch Manager Jesse Simpson said, “We have been part of similar programs in other regions that were very successful. And with over 320 days a year of sunny weather, we know the Treasure Valley Idaho is a perfect place to go solar.”

All interested homeowners and business owners in Ada and Canyon should sign up now by going to the web site www.solarizethevalley.org and get a free on-site assessment from a professional installer. The sign-up phase of the campaign runs until July 31, 2016.

The public is encouraged to learn more by attending one of four informational workshops coming up in the next 60 days.

Workshops will be held at the Caldwell Public Library, May 25, 6:30 p.m., the Hilton Garden Inn, in Eagle, June 8th at 6:30 p.m. and at the Boise Co-op at the Village, June 22 at 6:30 p.m.  Read More

Just as clean energy advocates roll out our campaign to make it easier to install solar panels on Idaho rooftops, Idaho Power has advised state regulators it plans to hold some “stakeholder workshops” to try to find out if enough solar is enough.

Idaho Power submitted a “compliance filing” in its notable 2012 solar power “net metering” case in which the Public Utilities Commission directed Idaho Power to provide annual reports on how things are going with the level of customer interest in hooking up solar installations to the company’s grid. The last filing, on April 29, included the advisory that, “Idaho Power plans to hold customer and stakeholder workshop(s) during 2016 to share the results of this report and solicit feedback on a potential rate design proposal for future net metering customers that the Company may consider filing with the Commission…”

Context: The infamous multi-utility “solar net metering” case of 2012, spearheaded by Idaho Power and soon joined by the other two big electric companies, saw a huge divide between the state’s electric utilities and those customers wanting to save money and clean up their energy footprints by installing solar panels on their roofs. In the end, the PUC sided mostly with utility customers and re-set electricity rates that would have penalized electricity customers from going solar. But the issue remains far from settled. Utilities still have legitimate concerns about how they and their customers will continue to pay “fixed costs” for things like electricity grid infrastructure if more customers defect and go on their own. So with its filing, which comes with a wealth of information about how many customers are lining up to plug their rooftops into Idaho Power’s grid, the company makes its case for a more detailed review by the PUC and all customers of how the solar net metering program is working.

Given the new realities of solar power’s rise as a dominant electricity resource in Idaho, it’s probably a discussion worth having. Expect the PUC to schedule some workshops or other meetings sometime later this summer or fall to see how we’re doing with rooftop solar in Idaho.