Earlier this year, the Snake River Alliance set an audacious goal of adding 250 kilowatts (kW) of new rooftop solar photovoltaic (“solar PV”) systems on southwest Idaho residential and business rooftops. The demand by Idaho Power customers became quickly evident, as the Alliance and Idaho Power customers passed the half-way mark with more than 150 kW of new rooftop solar under signed contracts with nearly two months to go before those who signed up for their free solar assessments need to decide whether to put solar on their roofs.
Residential Idaho Power customers had until July 31 to sign up with the Alliance for their free solar power assessments, and commercial customers had until Aug. 31. Those who signed up still have until Oct. 31 to sign their contracts and schedule their solar installations.
The great news is that, like a similar “Solarize Blaine” campaign in Blaine County in Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley and elsewhere in the Wood River Valley, Idaho Power customers are flocking to solar power as a way to cut their power bills and replace Idaho Power’s dirty old coal power with clean, carbon-free solar power for much if not all of their electricity needs.
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 and across the nation. Solarize Blaine and Solarize the Valley are Idaho’s first campaigns to boost rooftop solar in the Gem State, and both have been a huge success.
The Snake River Alliance is a nonprofit, charitable organization that has worked for 37 years for responsible handling of nuclear waste and a future for Idaho powered by clean energy. The group has offices in Boise and Pocatello. Volunteers and new community supporters can help by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional community supporters of the Solarize campaign 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.
Solarize the Valley is a groundbreaking program in which Idaho Power customers in Ada and Canyon Counties are partnering with solar installers selected by the Snake River Alliance to install their own clean energy on their homes and businesses.
Site Based Energy, a Hailey-based firm, is working with commercial participants in the program. Residential customers are working with AltEnergy, a company that works in a number of states. Both companies are also participating in “Solarize Blaine,” aimed at helping Wood River Valley homes and businesses make the jump to solar. Combined, Idaho’s two new Solarize programs are showing our utility customers are fired up about wanting Idaho Power to plug into the sun.
Remember: Every kilowatt of clean solar power we’re adding to our rooftops is another kilowatt of dirty, climate-changing power that our utilities would otherwise build and put into our power bills.