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Rooftop solar is an important part of Idaho’s future. But, changes to “net metering” policies could make it less affordable. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has now set times for two public hearings about solar net metering. Public comments can also be submitted on the IPUC website until March 9th  at this link regarding case number IPC-E-17-13.

Boise hearing : Thursday, March 1st at 7 pm, at the IPUC Hearing Room, 472 W. Washington St.

Pocatello hearing: Monday, March 5th, at 7 pm at City Council Chambers, 911 N 7th Ave.

What to say:

  • Ask the Commission to deny Idaho Power’s request to create a new customer class and keep solar affordable
  • Explain why you think solar is valuable to Idaho
  • Ask the Commission to protect your right to install solar without unfair charges or fees

Last year, Idaho Power cast a shadow on solar by proposing to put solar users into a separate customer class without committing to what those rates would actually be. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will hear technical arguments from intervenors on this proposal in March. Boise attorney John Hammond will represent the Alliance and the Northwest Energy Coalition to present testimony from utilities expert Amanda Levin, with the NRDC.

Recently, the Idaho PUC staff submitted testimony that Idaho Power is already being fully compensated for grid operations and doesn’t need a new customer class. However, the staff suggests moving away from retail-value solar credits towards a lower value compensation plan for net meterers. The Alliance wants to make sure anyone who invests in clean energy gets to recoup the full value of their investment.

What if you can’t Solarize your rooftop?

Community solar projects can help smaller households go solar. Unlike “green tag” programs that support generic clean energy programs somewhere, community solar creates actual green electrons right in the community. The Alliance supports Idaho Power’s Community Solar Project, but the project is still only 14% subscribed after its first year. Idaho Power is trying to build the solar project anyway with the financial assistance of commercial customers and municipalities.

Idaho Power charges $562 per subscription to their Community Solar Pilot Porject. This provides around $25 a year in energy credits. For more information call Idaho Power at 208 388 2790. You can review or fill out a Participant Agreement here.

Today, the Snake River Alliance and the Northwest Energy Coalition filed testimony against Idaho Power’s proposal to change our solar net metering program. The Alliance’s technical witness in front of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission is Amanda Levin, Energy and Climate Analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, based out of Chicago. We have included it here for you to look over. Many of our allied intervenors also filed testimony today, including Ben Otto of Idaho Conservation League.

The Alliance is defending your right to tap into the sun without unfair penalties or charges from your utility company. The next step is for rebuttal responses from the lawyers representing all parties to the testimony filed today. These will be due by January 26.

Thank you for your contributions to the Alliance to help support this work!

Public comments are being accepted at the IPUC, make sure to use Case # IPC-E-17-13 in your comment.

Public hearings are being scheduled for March 8-9 in Boise.

Boise, — One hundred and nine families in southern Idaho have installed rooftop solar panels in the last 18 months through the Solarize the Valley program. This is one sign that interest in solar energy is growing quickly in the Gem State. Another is that statewide the number of solar installations has doubled.

Snake River Alliance launched the Solarize the Valley project last year to educate people and to install at least 650 kilowatts of rooftop solar. The program surpassed its goal and installed 730kW, representing a $2.3 million investment in clean energy. This helped two installation companies, AltEnergy and Bluebird Solar and Light, to hire several more workers.

This flurry of installations spans Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Twin Falls, Emmett, Fruitland, Middleton and Wilder.

Boise homeowner, Jose “Memo” Cordova, is pleased with the results. “One of the main reasons I decided to get solar panels is to lessen my carbon footprint. I’m glad I got solar panels. They’re performing beautifully. I’ve seen a big reduction in my Idaho Power bill and am happy to be saving money, too.”

“I took out a home loan to get my roof replaced, and used part of that to pay for the panels. I think my panels are a long-term investment. I don’t see a downside to any of this.”

Cordova is not alone. The Solarize the Valley program helped 49 families invest $1 million in rooftop solar, in 2016. This year, 60 families signed contracts worth $1.3 million bringing the total to 109 families and $2.3 million.

Recent federal statistics that show the number of customers in Idaho using solar has doubled in the last two years to roughly 1,700. Solar adoption rates still lag behind most other mountain West states. Utah and Nevada each have roughly 26,000 solar installations and even Montana, with just 2/3rds of Idaho’s population has more than 2,000.

Still, Idaho Power has raised concerns and wants to change the net metering program. Net metering allows homeowners to generate some of their own electricity and send excess power back to the grid as credits. Each customer has a special electric meter and is billed for their net energy use.

The Snake River Alliance and other solar advocates have intervened in front of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to support net metering. The Commission is now accepting testimony and is expected to rule on any changes in March, 2018.

More Information:

The Snake River Alliance is a nonprofit organization with members across Idaho and the country. For 38 years the group has advocated for responsible handling of nuclear waste, energy conservation and clean energy. The Alliance can be reached at: www.snakeriveralliance.org.

Sponsors of Solarize the Valley 2017 included: The Idaho Organization of Resource Councils, Idaho Smart Growth, Idaho U.S. Green Building Council, Conservation Voters for Idaho, Idaho Sierra Club, North End Organic Nursery, League of Women Voters, the Boise Co-op; Idaho Conservation League, the Funky Taco and Idaho Rivers Sports.

Nov 14 2017

Don’t Waste Idaho!

We can help protect Idaho if we all speak out.

Talk with your friends and family about the nuclear threats facing Idaho. Tell them public pressure can stop bad ideas and can protect Idaho’s shield against more nuclear contamination.

Contact public officials and tell them you don’t want to risk Idaho’s water.

Write letters to the editors of all Idaho’s papers and alert their readers to the dangers we face.

WE’VE SAID NO! WE MEAN NO!

  • The people of Idaho have said no to nuclear waste for decades.
  • The Idaho National Laboratory’s #1 Job is to handle the nuclear waste already here.
  • The 1995 Settlement Agreement, signed by the Department of Energy, Department of the Navy, and the State of Idaho, should not be abandoned.
  • Idaho’s ban on commercial spent nuclear fuel protects Idaho from a large, growing, very radioactive waste stream. It must be upheld.
  • Taking new plutonium-contaminated waste that can’t be promptly treated and removed risks turning Idaho into a nuclear dump.
  • The proposal to build an array of “small modular reactors” at INL would use Idaho’s water and leave us with more nuclear waste.

Contact our public officials and write a Letter to the Editor!

Governor Butch Otter
Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720
http://gov.idaho.gov/ourgov/contact.aspx
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden
Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0010
http://www.ag.idaho.gov/aboutUs/contactUs.html
Idaho Mountain Express
Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340
letters@mtexpress.com
Idaho State Journal
Box 431, Pocatello, ID 83204
https://idahostatejournal-dot-com.bloxcms.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/
Idaho Statesman
Box 40, Boise, ID 83707
www.idahostatesman.com/submit-letter/?rh=1
Lewiston Tribune
505 Capital St., Lewiston, ID 83501
letters@lmtribune.com
Post Register
Box 1800, Idaho Falls, ID 83403
letters@postregister.com
Times-News
Box 548, Twin Falls, ID 83303
http://magicvalley.com/app/contact/?contact=lett

SNAKE RIVER ALLIANCE

snakeriveralliance.org

208/344-9161   208/233-7212

Update – Oct 25, 2017

The Snake River Alliance is starting NEM NEWS — a periodic online newsletter for people concerned about the future of Net Energy Metering in Idaho. This is the first email to go out to the NEM NEWS list. We hope you will send us information to share, and use these short updates and take action to protect Net Energy Metering.

If you would like to join the mailing list you can sign up here.

NEM NEWS will help you stay informed about clean energy policy.

Latest News:

More and more people are producing at least some of their own electricity through rooftop solar panels or wind turbines. Across the nation this has made electric utilities consider increasing fees for basic access to the electric grid. In Idaho, the Idaho Power Company recently filed a request with the state to consider changes to the Net Energy Metering program.

The Alliance is one of many formal “intervenors” in the Idaho case. The intervenors met with the company to hammer out the case schedule. It seems that the company had hoped to fast track the case and wasn’t necessarily expecting this much push back on their filing.

So let us continue to surprise! We know there are many solar and renewable energy enthusiasts like you who are interested in the future of renewable energy in Idaho.

The following procedural time line is primarily for the intervenors in the case:

  • October 27th Dispositive Motions deadline
  • November 10th Party Response deadline
  • December 22nd Staff/Interviews direct testimony pre-file deadline
  • January 26th All Parties rebuttal deadline
  • February 23rd Idaho Power reply deadline

We also expect a full public hearing will be scheduled by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on (or about) March 8-9.

You can help by providing comments to the IPUC via their website or snail mail. Please refer to case # IPC-E-17-13. Go to this link and add your comments by using the online form:

http://www.puc.idaho.gov/forms/casecomment.aspx

If you don’t do technology well (or prefer the old fashioned methods) you can snail mail your comments to:

Idaho Public Utilities Commission
P O Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0074

Or Fax them to
FAX: (208) 334-3762