As we reported in our last Idaho Energy Update, a bold new partnership between Idaho’s first clean energy advocacy organization and two popular solar power installers continues to make 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. Since the Alliance rolled out its “Solarize the Valley” campaign in May, more than 200 utility customers have contacted the Alliance to sign up for their free solar power assessment, which is the first step toward making the move to clean, carbon-free electricity on our homes and businesses.

The Snake River Alliance has spent months working with many solar installers and technical experts to prepare its “Solarize the Valley” campaign designed to take some of the hassle, not to mention some of the costs, out of going solar. With the help of Alliance staff, volunteers, and an energetic group of “solar ambassadors,” Solarize the Valley does much of the consumers’ homework for them – such as negotiating competitive prices for high quality, American-made solar panels.

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. All interested homeowners and business owners in Ada and Canyon can sign up now by going to the Snake River Alliance’s Solarize website at to schedule a free on-site assessment from a professional installer. The sign-up phase of the campaign runs through July 2016. Home and business owners are also encouraged to learn more by attending one of the remaining informational workshops, including the workshop this Wednesday, June 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Eagle, and at 6:30 p.m. June 22 at the Boise Co-op at the Village in Meridian.

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 nationwide. Solarize the Valley participants will use Idaho Power Company’s net metering program, allowing their electric meters to run backward when generating more power than needed from solar energy.

Joining the Alliance and its installer-partners in the Solarize program are community supporters Idaho Smart Growth, the Idaho U.S. Green Building Council, the Sierra Club, Idaho Conservation League, North End Organic Nursery, Payette Brewing Co., Bardenay Restaurant-Distillery, Wheeler Homes, Fresca, Hilton Garden Inn Eagle, Boise Consumer Co-op, and League of Women Voters. Solarize Blaine, another Idaho “Solarize” program was successfully launched in Blaine County.

The Alliance welcomes anyone interested in adding solar power to their rooftops or just interested in solar power in general to join us at the coming workshops described above. And if you really want to get your hands sunny, the Alliance is always looking for volunteers to make Solarize the Valley a reality. Contact Leigh at [email protected] or 208-344-9161.

Meanwhile, take a listen to the Northern Rockies News Service story on Solarize the Valley that’s showing up in print and broadcast media outlets around the state.