In the coming weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in on the future of solar in southern Idaho.
It matters to you, especially if you’re an Idaho Power customer.
On November 16th, the Idaho Conservation League and Sierra Club will host a workshop that will explore how you can be most effective in influencing decisions that will impact solar power for decades to come. Stay tuned for more details.
In preparation for the upcoming opportunity, we’re bringing you perspectives from homeowners, businesses, and other partners who are sharing their solar stories.
Steve Streets of Moscow, Idaho has been working in the solar industry for twenty years and has seen how incentives and regulatory changes have influenced the development of clean, sunshine-fueled energy across the country. He founded DayStar Design and Construction, a solar installer for EcoDepot and realized early on that the opportunity to “focus housing energy efficiency was the best way to help save the environment.”
Given the low cost of power when he first started, it was hard to find motivated customers. “Nobody bought into it; energy was too cheap,” Streets said. In particular, policies in the 1980s “set solar back a decade.”
Streets has seen how policies established by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC), utility companies, state legislatures, and Congress can all influence people’s interest in solar power. Whether it’s tax credits, or energy portfolio standards, or government funded efficiency programs, they all play a role in shaping the market and promoting clean, carbon-free power.
That’s why both ICL and Streets are interested in the upcoming Idaho Power Net Metering case. Net metering is the process by which homeowners or businesses with excess solar power are compensated when they return power to the electrical grid. These net metering rules, developed by the PUC, influence the cost-effectiveness of solar power.
Luckily, we’ve seen prices for solar power systems become more affordable in recent years and there’s no shortage of work these days for residential or commercial installers.
As noted above, Idaho Power is currently revisiting the cost of residential solar and in coming months, the PUC will be determining what this fee will be.
It will be important for you to let the Public Utilities Commission know solar energy production benefits the community by strengthening local grids instead of relying on long-distance power lines and should be valued appropriately.
So, mark your calendars for an informative comment workshop on November 16th or take action and submit your comments today.