How it Worked

Our program focuses on one type of solar power called solar photovoltaics (PV), which converts sunlight directly into electricity that can be used in your home for heating, cooling, and to power your lights, appliances, and electronics. They work when photons strike and ionize the panel’s semiconductor materials causing outer electrons to break free of their atomic bonds. The electrons are then forced in one direction, creating a flow of electrical current.

PV systems have no moving parts and last for 20+ years with minimal maintenance. Systems can be installed on your roof or on the ground. They are typically designed to offset about 60% of the energy that your home consumes. PV systems do not store energy unless they are connected to a battery.

By now you’ve probably heard us talking about kilowatts (kW). This is the unit we use to size solar systems. One kW is the same as 1,000 watts. It is the unit of power that expresses the maximum possible output of energy that the system can produce at any given time. The average home

We use a different unit of power to measure the energy that is actually being produced by your panels. We call this a kilowatt-hour (kWh). One kilowatt-hour is equivalent to the power consumption of 1,000 watts for one hour. Kilowatt-hours are the units of energy you buy from your utility and use in your home to run your appliances, lighting and electronics.

Go solar to:

  • Reduce your monthly electricity bill and lock in your cost of electricity for the next 20-30 years
  • Increase the resale value of your home by about $15,000. (See study in 2015 by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory which also found that homes with solar sell faster on the market than homes without solar.)
  • Hedge against rate hikes. By purchasing your power upfront, you wont be impacted when ID Power raises the rate of electricity. Historically rates increase by 4-5% every year.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of pollution that you are putting into the atmosphere.
  • Reduce our dependence on dams in Idaho, and fossil fuels that are otherwise imported from Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Canada.
  • Increase your energy resiliency and protect against power outages.
  • Creates jobs in our community and stimulate economic development.

Our program vetted and pre-packaged the following solar solution for participants:

  • A Tier 1 solar panel
  • A standard string inverter with the option to upgrade to a micro inverter
  • Online data monitoring
  • A 5-year workmanship warranty
  • An optional plan for maintenance and repair

Yes. Unfortunately, you must own your home or be able to convince your landlord to sign up for the program. However, we are developing programs in the future that will help renters save money on energy, reduce their carbon footprint and increase the comfort of their home.

Solar systems can be roof or ground mounted. For a roof to work well for solar it should:

-Face South, West, or sometimes even East

-Have at least 100 sq. feet of open surface area

-Receive 4-6 hours of direct sunlight every day

-Built in the last 15 years and in good repair

-Angled between 30-45 degrees

If your roof is in poor condition, you may need to replace it or make repairs before installing solar. Fortunately, if you’re financing your system through a local bank they can include these costs in your loan.

Solar panels have no moving parts and require little maintenance. The Solarize Blaine package includes online monitoring so that you and your installer can immediately spot anything amiss with your system.

The biggest maintenance cost is for snow removal in the winter. You can do this yourself or pay your installer to regularly remove snow for you. Depending on the position and angle of your system, you may not accumulate snow and this may not be an issue for you.

Over the life of a system (typically 25-30 years) you will see about a 5% reduction in the efficiency of the panels, which is accounted for in the financial analysis and production estimates that your installer gives you.

The Solarize equipment comes with the following warranties:

  • Modules (Panels): 25 year limited manufacturer warranty on power production
  • Inverters: 12 year manufacturer warranty
  • Racks (Mounts): 20 year manufacturer warranty

Online monitoring will be installed with ever system so that your installer will know immediately if your system is having an issue. Installers are offering a 5 year workmanship warranty on defects caused by an installation error).

Unless you have installed storage, your system is still grid connected and you will therefore lose power.

Batteries are easily interconnected anytime after the system is installed.

At this time, batteries add about 25-30% more to the cost of your system and this percentage will increase as the size of the battery system increases. Therefore, batteries are usually sized to only power emergency loads in times of outages.

This is dependent on the installer and the size of the installation, but typical Solarize Blaine residential installations should be completed within 2 weeks. The actual installation may only take a few days.

Yes. HOAs can in fact prevent you from installing panels on the roof of your home. Fortunately, general sentiment has changed on the use of panels on homes, and HOAs are more amenable to their installation, though some HOAs will require you to go through a design review process.

Solarize Blaine is a program of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience. The first “Solarize” program in the State of Idaho, this enables home and business (and nonprofit) building owners to go solar more cheaply and easily and is a smart step to strengthen our community’s energy resilience: it is cost-effective, as it grows it can create quality jobs in the community, it keeps our energy dollars here in the community, and, if coupled with other local generation and/or storage, is the beginnings of a reliable, affordable, clean and local energy system for our county. Katie Bray, the Institute’s Energy Program Manager has helped shape and oversee Solarize programs elsewhere in the country and her team includes Chris Hansen, Energy Program Coordinator, and Russell Train, Energy Fellow.