The PUC approved energy sales agreements between Idaho Power and two solar farm developers, clearing the way for an eye-popping 120 megawatts to be installed in projects near Mountain Home and Boise. Aside from rooftop solar photovoltaic panels installed by a growing number of residents and businesses, this is a breakthrough for solar power in Idaho, and there are another 11 more contracts between Idaho Power and various developers already in the line awaiting PUC review.

One contract is between Idaho Power and Grand View PV Solar Two for 80 MW 20 miles southeast of Mountain Home; the other for the 40MW Boise City Solar project on South Cloverdale Road between Boise and Kuna. According to Idaho Power, 120 MW is roughly enough to power 83,000 average-sized homes. Other contracts are in the works, including projects on city property in Mountain Home and Pocatello.

The Alliance is among those who voiced strong support of these solar projects. The Grand View Solar Project, between Mountain Home and Grand View, would include 340,000 solar panels and would provide an estimated $400,000 in property taxes to Elmore County, as well as 35-year lease payments to property owners. The Boise City Solar Project at the 20 Mile Farm south of downtown Boise would feature about 170,000 solar panels and provide an estimated $200,000 a year in property taxes to Ada County as well as annual lease payments to the city of Boise. The PUC order said the Commission received more than 140 public comments in support of the projects.