Back to all news items

Public Safety Facility Awarded Solar Energy Grant
3/17/2010 4:26:14 PM
Shana Sweitzer (Blaine Co. Planning & Zoning)

Blaine County Awarded $93,168

For Public Safety Facility Solar Thermal Hot Water System

Blaine County was officially awarded $93,168 through the Phase II Environmental Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) for Renewable Energy Technologies on Government Buildings. The competitive grant process, administered by the Idaho Office of Energy Resources (OER), was open to small and mid-sized cities and counties who were ineligible for direct funding from the Department of Energy based upon population. The phase II grant was specific to the creation of renewable energy sources on government buildings or reduction and capture of methane and greenhouse gases.


Blaine Countys award grant will be used to design and install a solar thermal hot water system for the recently constructed Blaine County Public Safety Facility (PSF). The hot water demand created by showing, laundry, and food service for 88 prisoners and 23 jail employees results in approximately 50,000 gallons of hot water demand a month. Initial estimates indicate a solar thermal hot water system could offset hot water demand by 70% - 76% annually, consequently saving Blaine County and its tax payers $8,000 a year in energy costs, while also eliminating 132,170,300 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over the next 25 next years.


The solar hot water system will be the first commercial scale system in Blaine County. Blaine County government is hopeful the success of the project will spur other commercial level consumers, such as hotels, or lead other local governments to implement such systems.


The grant proposal was submitted by the Blaine Environmental, Economic and Energy Sustainability Team (BE3ST), which is headed by Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary.  BE3ST is a voluntary government employee committee that was put in place by the Board of County Commissioners to make accountable changes in county practices and policies to reduce carbon emissions and conserve natural and economic resources.

CONTACT:       Shana Sweitzer

                        208-788-5570, Ext. 1157