PNS Daily Newscast - January 23, 2019 

McConnell to bring up Trump’s wall funding bill on Thursday; might allow a vote on Democrats' measure to end government shutdown. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A U.S. Supreme Court decision allows Trump’s transgender military ban. Plus, navigating the DNA challenges of connecting with long-lost family.

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More Idahoans "Solarizing" Their Rooftops

The number of Idahoans using solar power has doubled over the last two years. (IndianCkDish4/Flickr)
The number of Idahoans using solar power has doubled over the last two years. (IndianCkDish4/Flickr)
December 19, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – 2017 could be remembered as the year solar energy caught on in Idaho. If it does, it would be thanks in part to the Snake River Alliance, which launched Solarize the Valley 18 months ago.

The program provides a low-cost solar panel installation and has helped 109 homes get power from the sun. It's also provided a boost to the clean-energy economy, representing a $2.3 million investment and helping two installation companies hire more workers.

One of the recipients of panel installations is Jose Cordova of Boise. Cordova was in the process of fixing up his roof when he read about Solarize the Valley. Now that the panels are installed, he says they serve as a good example for his kids.

"I have three boys and they use all the energy in the house, pretty much," he says. "They play video games. They watch movies. And it's something that I wanted my kids to know, that the use of renewable sources is a good and positive thing you can do for the earth."

Federal statistics show solar is catching on across Idaho. Over the last two years, the number of customers using solar has doubled to about 1,700.

Wendy Wilson, executive director of the Snake River Alliance, says solar panels are a long-term investment that pays off in the end.

"We have seen people get down to, basically, a $5-a-month bill for their electricity if they invest in their own homes and in the solar capacity that they can put on their roof," she says.

Wilson says changes could be coming to solar in Idaho. She says Idaho Power has noticed the increased interest and has proposed making changes to net metering, which allows customers to generate electricity and send it back to the grid. The change would put solar customers in a new class and allow for rate hikes.

The Idaho Public Utility Commission is accepting testimony on the proposal and expected to announce any changes in March.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID