Solar Power

It's been a tough year for gas and oil prices, but solar power has seen steady growth during this pandemic year. 

Solar jobs are up across the U.S., after two consecutive years of declines. But that growth is mixed in our region.

According to the latest report from the nonprofit solar energy advocate, The Solar Foundation, more than 5,600 solar jobs were added last year.

Kxlly Kxsh / Flickr Creative Commons

 


There’s some big changes afoot in leadership at Idaho Power.

Toby Talbot / AP Images

Right before Christmas, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission rejected a proposed settlement agreement that would have changed how folks with solar panels are paid for the excess power generated at their homes. The rejection means residents with solar panels will continue to receive the same amount for power that's put back into the grid. We talk with Idaho Power CEO Darrel Anderson and Ben Otto of the Idaho Conservation League about who wins under the current policy, and what it means for the future of solar power in Idaho. 

Idaho Power's Solar Energy Buyback Credit In Jeopardy

Dec 12, 2019
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Solar panel owners may soon get credited less for the excess power they produce.

 

Franklin Reyes / AP Images

Small scale solar production has become a popular way to decrease carbon emissions, but may people also view it as an investment. When solar panels are installed, there is an opportunity to sell any excess power back to the power company. But Idaho Power would like to change the way folks receive credits. Idaho Matters talks to a solar advocate about why these changes could set back Idaho homeowners who have already installed the panels.

Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Over a dozen rows of blue solar panels stand in a grassy lot. This is the new solar field opened by Clif Bar. The panels will produce about a third of the energy needs for the company’s manufacturing plant in Twin Falls.

 

Idaho Power

Ten-year-old Lily Colson likes penguins and polar bears and she wanted to protect them from the effects of climate change. This Boise 4th grader somehow went from protecting penguins to coming up with a new way to use solar power ... without having to build more infrastructure. She calls the idea “Solar Lines.”

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Multiple proposals from Democratic presidential candidates are calling for a full transition from fossil fuels to renewables over the next 10 years. Independent analytics firm Wood Mackenzie was interested in the numbers behind those proposals. It found a transition would take closer to 20 to 30 years. Dan Shreve, head of global wind energy research at Wood Mackenzie, co-authored the report.

Mountain Humane Animal Shelter / via Facebook

The Mountain Humane Animal Shelter was the first no-kill shelter in the state. They can add another superlative to their credentials: Their new facility will be run mostly with solar energy.

Courtesy Xcel Energy

The largest electric utility in Colorado, Xcel Energy, is making major investments in batteries to store the energy generated by nearby solar farms -- making the state a regional leader in deploying the rapidly advancing technology.

 

Tim Henshall / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Boise has joined a growing list of cities across the country that have committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy sources.

 

 

Liralen Li / Flickr Creative Commons

People who have solar panels on their homes are different from typical Idaho Power customers. That’s according to a new ruling by Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission, which could cost more money for those embracing renewable energy in the future.

Courtesy Idaho Power

Retired electrical engineer Lisa Hecht loves nerding out about solar energy.

The Boise resident has a solar light for emergencies, a solar battery pack she uses to charge her cell phone and a solar oven she swears makes top-notch steel cut oats.

Liralen Li / Flickr Creative Commons

Right now, Idaho homeowners who install rooftop solar panels receive credits for any extra energy they generate. But Idaho Power is looking to change that system, setting up a fight between the company and solar power advocates.

Idaho Transportation Department

On a dark, unfamiliar street, you may not see that raised curb or concrete island coming at you.

Susan Montoya Bryan / AP Images

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration announced a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels.

Snake River Alliance

Last year, we told you about a program designed to get more people to put solar panels on their roof. The program called its second year successful, but it’s not clear if it'll continue.

Flickr Creative Commons

Update Friday, July 28: The Snake River Alliance is extending the deadline to sign up for its Solarize the Valley project. The deadline is now August 15.

Renewable energy is always a subject up for discussion. Idaho Power serves about 1,200 solar users, but across the country, there’s pushback from utility companies on renewables, specifically with the net metering process.

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