When you drive south of Boise, you can't miss it. Right off Interstate 84 is huge field of solar panels. Who built them? Who uses them? We found that a California based company called Swinerton Re-Newable Energy is behind the project.
The Simco project in Elmore County came together right before the snow start falling. Project manager Mike Schott says the company has dozens of utility and commercial projects stretched across the country. "We're seeing not only utilities, but we're also seeing corporations and the general public demand cleaner renewable energy". Schott added, "We see the potential to be endless as long as there's land for companies to build on, we can build them".
This type of growth has caught the eye of the Boise airport. As a matter of fact the Boise airport applied and received the first solar energy grant handed out by the F.A.A. Soon their solar powered energy will create hot water for about fifty percent of the terminal. Airport spokesman Sean Briggs says everyone is excited. "I think what is cool, is the way we're building this project. We can expand it if the project goes well. We could put additional panels up and this concept can be used across the city as well."
As far as the Simco project goes, Idaho Power tapped into this 20 mega-watt renewable energy source for use by their customers. Schott breaks down the numbers. "I think the industry standards is like 165 homes per megawatt, so you're looking at about 3200 homes it can produce energy for". And just down the road in Grandview, an 80 mega-watt plant. So as long as the sun keeps shining, solar companies like Swinerton will keep pointing their panels to the sky. Now that's a bright future for Idaho.