Letters from the West

Snake River Alliance exceeds goal to get Idaho residents to install rooftop solar

Solar panels installed on an older house as a part of the Solarize the Valley campaign of the Snake River Alliance.
Solar panels installed on an older house as a part of the Solarize the Valley campaign of the Snake River Alliance.

The Snake River Alliance made it easy for Idahoans to install rooftop systems on their homes and they responded.

The renewable energy group set a goal for homes and businesses to install 250 kilowatts of solar power on their rooftops through a promotion to connect Idaho solar panel installers with solar-hungry utility customers.

The alliance exceeded its goal and installers added 266 kilowatts to the Treasure Valley’s power supply. Forty households in southwest Idaho invested $826,608 in rooftop solar.

“This program was meant to kick start the market for solar in Idaho and it worked,” Snake River Alliance Executive Director Wendy Wilson said. “There is a lot of pent up demand.”

The alliance and its volunteers got 400 households to sign up for free assessments over the summer.”Wilson said the Solarize the Valley program also added new clean energy jobs to Idaho’s economy. Add the Solarize Blaine in the Wood River Valley and they got Idahoans to invest $1.5 million in solar power.

The promotion allowed bulk buying so Solarize participants received special rates from two contractors, AltEnergy and Site-Based Energy.

Solarize the Valley is part of the Alliance’s efforts to eventually close coal-fired power plants that now generate about 40 percent of Idaho Power’s electricity. The group is also promoting clean electric and hybrid vehicles.

Rocky Barker: 208-377-6484, @RockyBarker

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