Scott Runkel is known by the students at the Community School as a gifted and engaging leader that cares a lot about living sustainability.  So when Runkel decided to outfit his home in Northridge with a 3kW system people weren’t surprised, just impressed.

“I have no regrets at all! It doesn’t require yearly maintenance, cleaning, inspections, or one bit of daily sacrifice. All you get is an endless supply of free electricity and that priceless feeling of knowing that you are producing clean energy. I smile every time I look at the readout and see the miracle of sunlight getting turned into electricity. On top of that, it’s now a solid financial investment!” says Runkel.

–Scott Runkel- Community School teacher and advocate, Northridge Neighborhood- Hailey, ID —





Bas and his wife Colette Evans have been producing their own power for over 8 years now, thanks to their 3kW PV system.

When we asked about his power bills now, Bas says “Our gas bills are like $2 in August and September.  I would say that overall the PV system has cut our bills in half for this home!”

“We’d really like people in Blaine County to know that solar is a good option available to them.  It’s about educating people and then showing them there is a way to change their habits that can have a positive impact.  Solar is a real tangible way to do that, and we think that the momentum is changing!”

“If your goal is to begin saving money and power and move towards living independently from the grid, then solar is the way to go.  I would completely recommend getting PV panels.  Hands-down.”

–Bas Verheijen and Colette Evans- Homeowners and Parents, Indian Creek Neighborhood- Hailey, ID–



When Patrick Buchanan decided to make the jump and buy the building he works in for State Farm Insurance, he knew he had to go solar.   “I’m kind of a numbers guy. I was always tinkering with how to make homes and businesses more efficient,” says Buchanan.

A State Energy Loan through the Department of Energy Resources provided Patrick with a 4% loan that allowed him to re-roof the building, and the numbers penciled out after that.  “I’m looking at a 10-year ROI.  I’ll be here for 20 or more years, and then I get another 10-15 years of free power.  That’s better than just burning through money on your power bills, says Buchanan.

And as far as solar for the community, Buchanan endorses the process from the standpoint of an investor.  “You have to look at: what are you investing in?  I care about the philosophy of green investment.  It’s a way for me to be a stockholder for something larger.  For my community and the environment.  I care about both of those things long term more than anything else.  What’s more tangible to me is the quality of the return, not the quantity.”

–Patrick Buchanan- State Farm agent, on his Main Street business- Hailey, ID–


“Adding solar to our affordable housing development project made perfect financial sense, and it’s also in line with the values of our entire community.  We appreciate a great quality of life here, and it was a was a clear win for the bottom line and a clear win for the community.”

–Jon Duval, Ketchum Community Development Corporation–


“We were all in.  We knew this was the place where we were going to raise our girls.  When you look at your home over those long-term horizons, solar becomes increasingly viable.  And on top of that I’m helping out the environment?  How could we not do solar?”  –Julie and Traves Olson, homeowners and parents, Hulen Meadows


“I am grateful that I belong to a community where people care and take action to make a difference. I grew up with solar on our home and started my career with four years at the U.S. Department of Energy: solar is a smart solution for our communities, economy, and natural environment. Blaine County and the State of Idaho are blessed with abundant natural resources and great beauty. Solarize Blaine gives us the chance to protect our environment as well as to create jobs and benefit our pocketbooks. For all of us who care about our county, state and beyond, we can continue to build a better future with solar, starting by getting a Free Solar Site Assessment with Solarize Blaine and adopt clean affordable energy.”

– Aimée Christensen, Executive Director, Sun Valley Institute for Resilience

“I’ve run Solarize programs all over the country and have witnessed a systemic change taking place when a community comes together to take action for the place that they love. When I was a freshman in college the clean energy movement was taking off and I grabbed on. It was the perfect blend of innovation and solution and it aligned perfectly with my interest in markets and economy.

I grew up chasing minnows at Redfish Lake, biking down dirt roads, and watching alpenglow take hold of the Sawtooths. These experiences shaped me as a human being and continue to today. Whether I’m skiing at Galena or hiking in the Boulders, I know that these things are not guaranteed. That we must take action to keep them, but that it must also make sense for our bottom line. Solar power is the way to do both.”

-Katie Bray, Program Manager, Solarize Blaine