Going solar in Pocatello

Like many area residents looking to help the energy crisis and eventually save money while doing it, we “went solar” this year in Pocatello. It took an investment on our part for sure, but Idaho Power’s net metering program is an incentive. For each kilowatt the 17 panels on our roof generates we get a kilowatt back when needed.

That means in about a decade, our system will have paid for itself while benefitting the electric grid and increasing our home’s value. Residential solar installations are starting to take off across the nation, and Pocatello is a shining example in Idaho. Gate City area residents outpaced Boise this year, installing over 90 private solar systems.

Plus, we’re helping Idaho Power meet its stated goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

So the company’s new Jan. 1 proposed rate structure, which will halve the benefit for solar customers comes as a surprise. Cutting citizen residential solar value in half isn’t the way to achieve renewable energy, and Idaho Power knows it. If anything, the rate benefit to solar customers should be increased. That would stimulate growth in residential solar and the result would be more renewable energy for the power grid and a boost to the state’s economy.

Idaho Power is a company driven by profit margins, but it is also a critical public service provider. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission needs to keep the net metering rate as it is, and help spur the realization of residential solar’s tremendous energy potential. The IPUC is holding a hearing on the matter in Boise on Dec. 2 and taking comments on its puc.idaho.gov website.

Rick L. Davis,