Young Boise Visionary Wins National Award for Solar Concept

A desire to protect penguins and polar bears from the effects of climate change inspired a Boise 4th-grader to invent a solar project that earned her a national sustainability award.

The need for clean energy is a worldwide problem that 10-year-old Lily Colson says she wants to address through something she calls Solar Lines. Her concept is to use flexible solar-power producing material to wrap existing power lines and poles, along with batteries, to generate electricity for homes and businesses.

The wires are already in place so they wouldn’t take up additional land like new solar farms do, and the power generated would be immediately tied to the electrical grid, Lily said.

Idaho Power Program Specialist Patti Best was one of the industry experts that Lily interviewed for her presentation.

Innovation and new technology will be important in the coming years as Idaho Power works toward its goal of providing 100% clean energy by 2045.

Lily’s research, which resulted in a scale model built from Legos, a three-panel display and an in-depth journal as well as an oral presentation, earned her a trip to the National Invention Convention in Dearborn, Mich. There she won the Stanley Black and Decker Sustainability Award.

She first had to advance through local, regional and state competitions. “I worked pretty hard on this to get to nationals,” she said. “That was my goal.”

Media note: For more information, contact her mother, Karen Colson, at More information about the Invent Idaho Invention Convention program is available from or at

Brad Bowlin
Communications Specialist