by Andrew Crisp
A major solar plant, under construction 60 miles outside of Boise, could begin selling electricity to Idaho Power as soon as January 2013, according to the Associated Press.
Grand View Solar I will occupy land leased from the J.R. Simplot Co. east of Boise, covering 180 acres and generating 10 megawatts.
"When it comes online, Grand View Solar I will be the largest solar project connected to Idaho Power's system," Idaho Power spokesman Brad Bowlin told the AP.
Albany, N.Y., developer Mark Scher bought the project in June 2011 from its founders, Robert Paul of Desert Springs, Calif., and Peter Richardson, a Boise energy lawyer. The project will generate electricity to sell to Idaho Power under the terms of a 2010 agreement with the utility company.
Scher's progress notwithstanding, solar power's future in Idaho has faded considerably from the past years' optimism. Another developer, Interconnect Solar, had its 25-year sales agreement with Idaho Power canceled after failing to post security to ensure it would deliver power on time.
Natural gas prices are at historic lows, making sun-generated energy too expensive—despite plummeting solar panel prices.
The article also states alternative energy developers are struggling with Idaho projects, as the state Public Utilities Commission considers utility-backed changes that would make renewable financing more difficult.