Two large solar plants to be built in Boise, Elmore counties

Two large solar plants to be built in Boise, Elmore counties

This undated image provided by SunPower Corp. shows the company's solar power development under construction, co-located in Los Angeles and Kern Counties in California Companies like SunPower, Entravision Communications, a Spanish-language media company, and MannKind, a biopharmaceutical company, have more than tripled in value and all are part of the Russell 2000, an index of small-company stocks that has outperformed other major indexes in 2013. (AP Photo/SunPower)

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Idaho Power announced an agreement with two companies to build solar plants that could produce 120 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power more than 80,000 homes.

One company will build an 80 megawatt plant near Grand View in Elmore County, while another will build a 40 megawatt plant in south Boise.

As apart of their agreement to buy the electricity, Idaho Power says the companies will pay the integration costs, which will avoid having customers foot the bill.

Phil DeVol of Idaho Power said making solar a part of their grid will force it to have more reserve power on standby in case the sun isn't shining.

"Taking into account the need to carry reserves for our system just based on normal operations, but this adds to the amount of reserves that our system needs to carry," DeVol said.

He admits solar gives them power when they need it the most, which is in the summertime when people are using a lot of A/C in their homes, and farmers are pumping groundwater for irrigation.

The project will also be beneficial to the areas they are building in. The City of Boise is set to get an extra $200,000 for leasing the land the solar panels will be on.

It's property that was only used as a buffer and didn't have any other use. Elmore County will likely receive an extra $400,000 in extra property tax revenue from their solar project.