Environmental Group Launches Campaign To Get Treasure Valley Residents To Install Solar Panels

May 9, 2016

The clean energy advocacy group the Snake River Alliance today launched a campaign called Solarize the Valley. For the next 10 weeks the group will be trying to get as many people as possible in Ada and Canyon Counties to install solar panels on their homes and businesses.

The first ‘solarize’ campaign is believed to have happened in Portland seven years ago. They’ve been done all over the country since. The first in Idaho is going on now in Blaine County, making Solarize the Valley the second.

The alliance is offering people a free estimate from one of two solar installation companies that have signed on to participate: AltEngery and Site Based Energy. The alliance has negotiated a price with the companies it says will be cheaper than if people tried to go solar on their own. Plus, Snake River Alliance interim executive director Wendy Wilson says, they’ll help participants save even more money.

“There’s a 30 percent federal tax credit,” Wilson says. “There’s also a pretty good state tax deduction available in some cases for up to 100 percent of the installation. There’s also state financing at four percent.”  

But even with all that, installing solar panels is not cheap. According to the Snake River Alliance, putting a few panels on a small house will cost more than $4,000 and the price for a big place climbs above $20,000. But Wilson says the energy savings add up.

“We’re looking at payback periods between eight and 12 years,” she says. “That’s just straight out a great deal. I don’t know what else people are doing with their money that gets that kind of return.”

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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