Save money by going solar in ($0 installations may be available) - Click Here to Apply

Solar Power Rocks logo

Solar Power Rocks

Clear info on home solar power rebates, tax credits, and other benefits

2016 Policy

F

Avg. Yearly Savings

$643

Congratulations! You've found the ultimate guide to going solar in Idaho

2016 Policy

F

Avg. Savings/yr

$643

Welcome to the 2017 Idaho solar power information page!

Note: The numbers above are just estimates for a 5kW solar system, and your home is unique. The best way to know exactly how much money solar power can save you is to connect with one of our partners nearby. A friendly solar expert we trust will give you a buzz and help you craft a personal plan to get the absolute most out of a solar power system for your home. It's 100% free (yes, that’s right, 100% free) and you aren't obligated to buy anything.

From Lake Pend Oreille to the Sawtooth Mountains and Hell’s Canyon, Idaho has some truly unique natural beauty. Since there’s so much to see and do outdoors in Idaho, keeping the environment clean by using renewable power sources like the sun should be a top priority. Don’t forget about all those potatoes either; solar energy helps farmers too. How serious is the Idaho state legislature with solar power policies? Read on!

Questions? Our network of solar experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Your guide to going solar in Idaho

We've designed this page to be a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on a home in Idaho. Since there's a lot of important information to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

The Solar Strategy section is all about the various financial options you have in Idaho. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions about what you hope to get out of a solar purchase and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we give you a detailed picture of how each could work for you.

The Policy Information section contains all of our latest research on the rules set by the state legislature and public utilities commission that determines how easy it is to go solar in Idaho. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to whether you get paid retail or wholesale rates for the extra energy your system produces, and can have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section lists all of the available financial benefits available to homeowners who go solar. This section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions. If you're looking for what Idaho is doing to make solar more affordable for its citizens, you'll find it here.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Your Solar Strategy in Idaho

Figuring out the best way to go solar in Idaho can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

Compare the Return of Different Solar Investments in Idaho

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan. Since economic conditions in Idaho don't allow for homeowners to get solar through a third-party agreement like a lease or Power Purchase Agreement, we included two different sizes of solar loans—one for people with a lot of equity, and one for people with just a little.

As you can see, the purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but it also requires a big up-front investment. If you take a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or solar loan, though, your payments over 15 years will be more than your savings, but you'll still come out thousands of dollars ahead in the end.

Read on to find out more about each option.

 Buying Solar in Idaho

This is the best option in Idaho if you want solar and you've got the cash to spend. An outright purchase returns the most money over time, because you own the system from day one and reap all the benefits. That 30% Federal tax credit, combined with the state tax deduction and electricity savings bring your first-year costs way down.

In our example, you put down $21,250, but by the end of year 1, incentives and energy savings will erase a bunch of it. Over 25 years, your system will have produced almost $9,000 in income.

That might sound like a great deal of savings over the years, but it pales in comparison to the potential returns from other states. That's not because Idaho lacks sun—it's because the state has cheap electricity prices and no statewide rebates for solar. The internal rate of return on a solar investment here is just 4.3%, which is not as good as an investment in, sya, the stock market.

Net Present Value: -$2,107

Net Present Value (NPV) measures how good of an investment something is, compared to the best alternative. We use a 6% return to evaluate all solar investments, and Idaho's -$2,107 NPV on a 5-kW solar system means you'd be that much better off investing your money in stocks over 25 years than in Idaho solar. But check out what happens to NPV if you buy the same system with a loan that you can pay back over time.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Idaho solar purchase with a 5-kW rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 5kW solar system should start at about $21,250. Don’t worry – even without state incentives, you can still knock a big chunk off the price right off the bat.
  • Since the Feds calculate their incentive based on actual out of pocket costs, no state incentives means a bigger federal solar tax credit. Subtract $6,375 (30% of $21,250) for a new price of $14,875.
  • After the tax credit, subtract Idaho's tax deduction savings. You can read more below about how this works, but what you need to know now is that it will save you $370 in the first year, reducing costs to $14,505.
  • Don't forget your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be about $643. That brings your cost after the first year to $13,862.
  • By the time your system pays itself back in year 18, you’ll be seeing over $1,000 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • When all is said and done, our 25-year estimate shows a total net profit of $9,228, with an internal rate of return of 4.3%. That's actually not bad compared to some investments, but you're probably better off with your money in an exchange-traded fund.
  • On top of those returns, your home's value just increased by just about $15,000, too (your expected annual electricity savings over 20 years)!
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil-fuels. In fact, the energy you’re not using has the carbon equivalent of planting 107 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Idaho. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

 Solar Loans in Idaho

Usually this is the place where we tell you that taking a loan to pay for solar is a great idea. That's because it's usually true. High electricity prices around the country make a solar panel system into an income-generating asset.

The returns in Idaho are still pretty good, but they miss the excellence of the best solar states by a wide margin. The state enjoys some of the lowest electricity prices in the nation, and that means savings are a little slimmer.

Still, as you can see from the chart above, you'll start out with a big windfall, because even though you're not putting any money down, you get the Federal 30% tax credit for the whole installed cost of your system. Then, over the 15-year life of your loan, you'll be spending more than you're saving in electricity costs, essentially investing a total of about $8,800 until you pay the loan off.

But from there, it's up-up-up! After your loan is paid off, you'll be saving $1,000 or more per year in electricity costs from your fully-owned solar panels. You'll end up over $2,185 to the good after 25 years, which is great for an investment where you put nothing down!

Net Present Value: $-379

Net Present Value (NPV) measures how good of an investment something is, compared to the best alternative. We use a 6% return to evaluate all solar investments, and Idaho's $-379 NPV on a solar loan means you'd be that much better off investing your money in another investment over 25 years than in solar. But that $379 is so tiny, it seems almost a small price to pay for the beneifts of clean, reliable solar power.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Idaho solar purchase with a solar loan or HELOC:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $21,250. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $644, but your loan payments will total $1,886, for a difference of $1,242, or about $104 per month.
  • That's not so bad when you consider your tax savings for the year will be $6,745! You'll come out $5,500 ahead in year 1, which should help ease the burden of loan payments for a few years, at least.
  • When your loan’s paid off in year 15, you’ll start see over $1,000 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • For our 25-year estimate, you'll see some decent returns, to the tune of $2,185, even after all the payments.
  • And the future is going to look a little brighter, since your system will mean green for the environment. It'll be like planting 107 trees every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Idaho. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

 Small Rooftop Systems in Idaho

Let's say you don't have a ton of extra cash laying around, but you do have a bit of equity in your home. Can you get solar panels? YES! Is it a good idea in Idaho? Probably!

Here's the thing: electricity in Idaho is priced close to the cheapest in the nation. The way solar saves you money is by producing energy that you would have paid for. Trouble is, paying for solar with a loan costs just a little less than paying for electricity.

That means solar isn't the brilliant investment it can be in other states with high energy prices and cash-back incentives, but it might still be a good idea for you if you really, really want solar for environmental reasons. And it can mean a big windfall in year 1, because of tax savings.

Here are the factors we'll look at for this example:

  • A 2-kW rooftop system that will cost around $10,200 installed.
  • A solar loan or HELOC for that amount with a 10-year payback at 4.5% interest.

Just like with the big system, you don’t have to put any money down, but you still get the big federal tax credit for buying solar. You'll get 30% of your solar costs back as a tax credit and the energy bill savings will start right away. Your loan payments will be about $103 per month while your energy bill savings will be about $21—a difference of $82. Basically, for the cost of cable TV, you do your part to save the planet from carbon pollution, and make a little money later in your life, too.

Net Present Value: -$1,426

Net Present Value (NPV) measures how good of an investment something is, compared to the best alternative. We use a 6% return to evaluate all solar investments, and Idaho's -$1,426 NPV on a small solar system means you'd be that much better off investing your money in stocks over 25 years than in Alabama solar. So only go solar in Idaho if the environmental benefits are worth that much to ya.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Idaho solar purchase with a small rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 2-kW solar system should cost about $10,200. Your loan should be for this amount.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $257, while your loan payments will cost $1,239.
  • At the end of the year, the federal government will give you a 30% tax credit based on the up-front cost of your system. You'll also get a $148 credit from the state of Idaho. That's $3,208 that you won't owe this year. You can take the Federal credit over as many years as necessary if you don't owe that much in federal taxes this year, and you'll get another $148 state credit for each of the next 3 years, too.
  • When your loan’s paid off after year 10, you’ll start to see over $300 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • For our 25-year estimate, you'll actually end up with a tiny bit of savings! We're talking $372 after 25 years, which will help your old, wiser self appreciate your young, forward-thinking self.
  • Your system will remove as much carbon from the air as planting 43 trees per year, which is a pretty great thing, we'd say.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Idaho. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Idaho Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in Idaho:

RPS

None

Grade: F

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) basically requires utilities in the state to source a percentage of energy from renewable sources by a given date. A strong RPS is important because it forces utility companies to promote conversion to renewable energy. That generally means free money for you in the form of solar power rebates and performance payments when you switch to solar.

Unfortunately, despite being one of the most productive states in the renewable energy game (thanks to hydroelectric), Idaho does not have any RPS at all, not even the voluntary targets we’ve seen in some nearby states that also lack true RPS mandates. No RPS generally translates to little or no solar incentives offered by the utilities, and unfortunately that’s the case here.

No utility incentives means a whole lot of missed opportunity, and wasted solar resources. The southern half of Idaho, in particular, gets a great deal of sun—as much as Florida—and could produce a great deal of clean solar power with the right programs to encourage homeowners like you to make the switch. A strong RPS would force the utilities to pick up a lot of the cost of providing those incentives here.

What's an RPS? Your state legislature paves the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish by setting standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If utility companies do not meet these standards, they must pay alternative compliance fees directly to the state. Many utilities then determine the best ways to source their energy from renewable sources that are less expensive than this fee.

An RPS is a mandate that says "Hey utilities! Y'all now have to make a certain percentage of your electricity from renewable sources. If not, you'll have to pay us huge fines." The consequences are good, because utilities usually try to meet these RPS standards by creating solar power incentives for you, the homeowner. Read more about Renewable Portfolio Standards.

RPS solar carve out

None

Grade: F

No RPS means no solar carve out.

What's a solar set aside? A solar set aside guarantees a specific portion of the overall renewable energy mix generated comes from the sun. For those states with progressive standards, high alternative compliance payments, and clear solar carve outs, the faster those areas become ripe for solar.

Some states have higher alternative compliance fees than others, and some states have more progressive alternative energy standards and deadlines than others do.

For instance, New Jersey has an overall RPS of 22.5% by the year 2021. That requires local utilities to source 22.5% of their energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2021. Pretty good. However, New Jersey also has a specific solar set aside of 4.1% by 2028. That’s the type of firm commitment which really gets the industry rolling forward. No wonder why New Jersey is one of the hottest solar markets right now!

Idaho Electricity Prices

$0.10/kwh

Grade: D

Idahoans pay an average of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity. That’s the lowest price in the region and even one of the lowest in the country (chalk it up to the state's beefy hydroelectric dams).

We know you like paying less now, but the long term costs of cheap electricity are through the roof. All that cheap electricity is produced by building massive dams, which are often criticized for damaging nearby ecosystems. The reservoirs required for these large-scale projects eat up sizable areas of biologically rich terrain and negatively affect both upstream and downstream environments. Make the clean and responsible decision with solar -- you can thank us later!

Why are electricity prices so important? Because that is what solar power is directly competing against. The cost to produce power with solar is relatively constant (of course how much sun hits your area has an effect), so if you are paying $0.40 per watt for power, then you make FOUR TIMES AS MUCH as the guy or girl paying $0.10 per watt electricity.

The caveat here is that if the $0.10 per watt person has a HUGE rebate, they may be better off than the $0.40 per watt person. Because of that, states without any renewable standards tend to be heavily reliant on cheap coal for electricity, and also have very low electricity prices. When electricity prices are artificially low, that hinders the ability of solar energy to achieve meaningful payback in the state.

Idaho Net Metering

None

Grade: C

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for any surplus. It’s an essential part of strong solar policy, because it’s a big money saver for you. Idaho currently has no law requiring utilities to offer net metering, or governing interconnection (getting on the grid to get net-metered).

Despite not being required, all three of the state’s three investor-owned utilities — Avista Utilities, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power — have independently decided to offer net metering programs. The framework of all three programs is similar. All of the programs limit individual system size, but those limits won't affect homeowners much.

All three programs also handle residential net metering the same way: all surplus energy produced is applied as a credit to your next month’s bill at the full retail rate. So for every kW extra you produce one month, you pay for one less kW the next. Avista specifies (sadly) that surplus credit reverts back to the utility without compensation after 12 months. Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power do not specifically address “rollover” limits or other annual surplus accounting policies.

What is net metering? Net metering is the billing arrangement where you can sell excess electricity back to your utility for equal the amount you are charged to consume it. The more customer friendly net metering policies, the higher the grade.

The grade here specifically reflects individual solar system capacity, caps on program capacity limits, restrictions on “rollover” of kWh from one month to the next (yep just like cell phone minutes), metering issues (like charges for new meters), Renewable Energy Credit (REC) ownership, eligible customers and technology (the more renewables the better), being able to aggregate meters across the property for net metering, and safe harbor provisions to protect customers from solar tariff changes.

Idaho Interconnection Rules

None

While things look pretty standard on the net-metering front, there are fragmented policies in terms of how easy it is to connect to the grid which vary from utility to utility. Idaho could benfit from uniform standards, which would come as a directive from the state capitol.

Regardless, here are the Idaho big three’s interconnection policies:

Interconnection rules are a little technical, but they basically allow you to “plug in” to the electric grid with solar panels on your roof. The more complex, out of date, or nonsensical the state rules are for plugging into the grid, the lower the grade.

Specifically, the grade reflects what technologies are eligible, individual system capacity, removing interconnection process complexity for smaller systems, interconnection timelines and charges, engineering charges, prohibiting the requirement of unnecessary external disconnects, certification, spot interconnection vs. wide area interconnection, technical screens, friendliness of legalese, insurance requirements, dispute resolution, and rule coverage.

Solar Incentives in Idaho

Idaho Solar Power Rebates

None

Grade: F

Idaho lacks any utility rebates for solar power. This is a direct result of the lack of an RPS. With an RPS in place, and the accompanying penalties for utilities that fall short of RPS goals, you can bet the utilities would start offering incentives to switch to solar power. How do we know? Because it’s worked everywhere else. RPS’s inevitably spur the creation of incentives that are cheaper for the utility companies than the penalties of the RPS.

How do solar rebates work? Similar to getting a rebate card from your local big box store for a dishwasher purchase, state legislatures also provide rebates for solar panel purchases to spur on investment and create new jobs. If you purchase the solar panel system yourself, you qualify for this free cash, which many times is a lump payment back to you. Some solar installers like to take this amount directly off the total installed price, and they'll handle the paperwork for you to make things a lot less complex.

The availability of state and utility rebates were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The better the rebates, the higher the grade.

Idaho Solar Power Tax Credits

$370/year for 4 years

Grade: B

With no utility incentives to speak of, we have to commend the legislature for stepping up with a pretty strong solar tax credit. The lack of utility incentives is the legislature’s fault for not passing an RPS, of course, but nevertheless, the personal deduction that Idaho has made available is a big step back in the right direction.

When you install a new solar power system in your home, you are entitled to a state income tax deduction for 40% of the cost of the project in the first year, and 20% each year for the next three years. The deduction comes off of your income that you pay taxes on, not your actual tax burden. With a maximum deduction from income of $5,000 per year and a state tax rate of 7.4%, you can expect to get back about $1,480 over the four years the tax credit can be stretched over. Cha-ching!

And of course, you Idahoans benefit from the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit as well. There's no cap on the federal tax credit and you'll deduct that after you subtract your rebate. Sample calculations follow below -- keep scrolling!

About state solar tax credits: State tax credits are not technically free money. However, they are 'credits' and not 'deductions' which means that if you have the tax appetite to take advantage of them, then they can be a 1-to-1 dollar amount off your taxes instead of a fraction of the cost of the system. So that means they can be an important factor to consider. In certain circumstances, state tax credits can provide a very powerful incentive for people to go solar.

(Keep in mind, we are not tax professionals and give no tax advice so please consult a professional before acting on anything we say related to taxes)

The availability of personal tax credits for solar energy were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the tax credit amount, the higher the grade.

Solar Power Performance Payments

None

Grade: F

Idaho lacks any performance payments for solar power. As with Idaho’s (lack of) power rebates, this is a direct result of the lack of an RPS. With an RPS in place and the accompanying compliance fees for utilities that fall short of RPS goals, the utilities would start offering incentives to switch to solar power.

Explanation of performance payments: Performance payments represent a big chunk of the financial rationale for going solar, and in many instances they make your decision a wise one. For certain states, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, not only will you be cutting your electric bill down to size, but you'll be getting paid additional cash from your utility company. Pretty awesome, huh? Not only are you generating electricity for yourself, freezing your own popsicles with sun, and feeling like you’re doing something smart for your children or any of the other 4 reasons people go solar, but you are getting PAID!

Utility companies are paying people with solar panels on their roofs because their states say they have to, otherwise they will pay a fee. Therefore, the payment amount to homeowners is typically a little bit less than the amount they would be billed for by the state. For states with these alternative compliance fees, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) exchanges have popped up. In the above chart, we outlined an estimate of yearly payments a homeowner might expect from the utility company for the SREC credits from their solar energy system.

Expected SREC payments were calculated by using the latest trade values in the SRECtrade database. The availability of feed-in tariffs were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the expected monthly payments, the higher the grade.

If you don’t know what an SREC is, or how they work, check out this great SREC video

Property Tax Exemption

None

Grade: F

With that handy solar tax credit in place, we can’t imagine how the other solar friendly tax policies slipped through the cracks. Both a property tax exemption and a sales tax exemption would save you money without ever actually removing a single dollar from the state’s bank account.

About solar property tax exemptions: Property tax exemption status is a pretty big factor when putting together your investment considerations. Many argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing. Leasing still has a positive impact on the ability to sell your home though, in our opinion).

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean $20,000 to your home value. (Edit April, 2014: Some companies, like Solar Mosaic, are starting to offer traditional style equity-based home loans for such a thing). An additional $20,000 in property tax basis in many states amounts to a big chunk of change owed back to the state. However, many states have complete exemptions from added taxes when you install solar on your home!

The availability of a property tax exemption for solar energy was also sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The stronger the tax exemption, the higher the grade.

Sales Tax Exemption

None

Grade: F

One of the simplest ways for the Idaho state legislature to encourage small scale clean energy adoption is to declare solar panel equipment exempt from state sales taxes as many other progressive states have done. Sadly, there is no such declaration.

What's the deal with solar power sales tax exemptions? When states give you a sales tax break on solar, we notice. You should too. State sales tax exemption status for the purchase of solar energy systems were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Sales tax exemptions, if present, were all 100%. A handful of states are completely exempt from sales tax regardless, and therefore received ‘A’ grades by default (OR, DE, MT, AK, and NH).

Switch to solar and save $36.44/mo on avg ($0 installations available) - Click Here

The consensus on Idaho solar power rebates and incentives

We’ve reviewed solar policy in a whole lot of states–all of them in fact–but we’ve never seen a state quite like Idaho before. No RPS, no utility backed solar incentives, heck, no mandatory net metering or interconnection standards! Virtually nothing, except for that mediocre Idaho solar tax credit. And at the end of the day, it’s really the money that talks. With a 16 year payback time frame, Idaho surely has a ways to go regarding its residential solar policy.

31 thoughts on “Idaho Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

  1. Meg says:

    Charles, we took the Fed 30% tax credit on our off-grid cabin system. After carefully reviewing the Fed IRS form 5695, we found nothing that would exclude the off-grid solar panels and the batteries necessary to store the power. Here is a link to the form for 2012:

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf

    You should be able to add in your labor as well, and yes, you can take the credit on both properties. The instructions on form 5695 state: Qualified solar electric property costs are costs for property that uses solar energy to generate electricity for use in your home located in the United States. No costs relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a roof (or portion thereof) will fail to qualify solely because the property constitutes a structural component of the structure on which it is installed. The home does not have to be your main home.

    Matthew at Altenergy installed our system. Hope this helps.

  2. Charles says:

    Can I get state and fed tax credits when I install 23500.00 solar kit, 30 230watt panels, 48 volt 8000 watt inverter 120/240, 16 Trojan 420 amp 6 volt batter, add more batter if I can afford them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Charles here, can I get the tax credits fed and state when I install off grid system on my cabin and not my primary home?
    So far I cannot in stall panels in my subdivision because of the ccr from the hoa rules.
    Would like to do both cabin and house” 6.5 kw quoted price is 23870.00
    30 230 watt panels, 8000watt inverter 120/240 16 Trojan battery’s 420 amp our in 48 volt system
    Again, can I get tax credit for both cabin and home.
    Thanks
    Charles in IF.

    1. SolarBoise says:

      My HOA CCRs also prohibited solar, but allowed for installation if the HOA board approved. I applied and got approval. (Don’t give up!)

  4. Ron Garrett says:

    Started a 3kw PV system in Nov. 2012. Installed my self so took some time. Just about ready to go on line when I got my letter from Idaho Power informing gridtie customers that they were proposing new net-metering fees that increase my monthly fee from $5 to $21!! Also no by back of credits. Also all credits not used by Dec. 31 will be lost. (Ripped Off) I’ve tried to contact my Legislators but no responce to date. Idaho Public Utilities has a web site with comment section for Case # IPC-E-12-27. Needs to pass PUC but we will see who they side with. Any Bets???? I’m afraid lottery tickets may have been a better investment.

  5. SolarBoise says:

    For those of you shopping in Boise, current prices are affordable…! My 7.2 KW rated system (i.e. 30 x 240W panels) with installation (Oct 2012) and including Enphase microinverters was $22,400. Includes online monitoring and graphing of solar production by panel, by hour, and over time via smartphone. Incredible system. This is my public page showing production:
    https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Q2xD138936

    1. Mark says:

      Please tell me more about your system. I am in Boise and am interested to learn more.

      1. SolarBoise says:

        Hi Mark
        Here’s my system:
        30 x Trina TSM-240 PC/PA05.05 panels (black frames!)
        http://www.trinasolar.com/images/PDF/datasheets/us/TSM-PA05.05_US.pdf

        Enphase Envoy monitoring system:
        http://enphase.com/products/envoy/

        Enphase M315 Microinverters (these are attached to the back of each panel to invert the electricity from AC to DC)
        http://enphase.com/products/m215/

        As you saw above, you can view my system production here:
        https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Q2xD138936

        The job took 2 days to install (they brought a pretty good-sized crew). Then Idaho Power had to come out to certify connections and install a net meter. (I think that took about a week to complete). After that was done, my contractor had to come back out to help me with the Enphase account registration to get it connected online. The monitoring service is free of charge with the system, and it’s kinda fun… I can monitor on my computer or Android, run reports, troubleshoot individual panels and microinverters, etc.

        That’s really it. I worked with Darryn at Powerhouse Electric in Nampa.
        http://powerhouseelec.com/index.php

        Good Luck!

    2. Jared says:

      Your link is great! It really helped me when trying to size my system. I use about 300KWhr/mo in the winter and 600KWhr/mo in the summer. From others on this page, it seems that Idaho Power does credits power, but you lose any extra credits at the end of the calendar year (not so helpful when you really need the KWhr credits in the spring). What direction does your system face… the link seems to imply south-west facing panels. I would be planning on an east-west facing roof… so I don’t know how much I should reduce my numbers. Any additional insights or lessons learned would be appreciated. Thanks, Jared

      1. SolarBoise says:

        The IPUC rejected Idaho Power’s request, so you do NOT lose your extra credits annually. Not sure if you followed the whole process, but the IPUC soundly rejected Idaho Power’s request. HUGE win for renewable energy…!

        Yes, my panels are facing southwest. The angle of the image in the link is accurate. I’m not sure how to estimate impact of alternate angle…?

        I am VERY happy with the outcome. The only thing I might have reconsidered is using Sunpower panels which are more efficient (rather than the Trina panels, though they are working exactly as expected). Probably the best part of the system is the Enphase system. Highly recommended.

  6. Mark says:

    Thanks for posting a 2012 update for the state of Idaho. Although its a great incentive, I think you may have over estimated the value of the Idaho State Tax Deduction.

    You don’t actually get to reduce the total installed cost by the deduction. You DO get to reduce your annual income by the amount of the deduction. So if you make 50k annually, and you installed a $20,000 PV system, you would only have to report an annual earnings of 30k (I’m ignoring the $5,000/year cap for simplicity). At an income tax rate of 7.8% is about a ~$1,500 savings.

    Still a great help to promote solar energy in the state of Idaho!

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      OK will investigate thank you for the tip. Appreciate it.

  7. Matthew says:

    Jennifer, over the past year solar PV system costs have fallen dramatically due to steep competition in the manufacturing of solar panels. You can definitely start out small. Solar systems are very modular these days; you could install one panel today and add more in a years time.

    David, there are currently no Idaho state rebates for site assessments, however there are a few other credits/ deductions you can take. dsireusa.org is a great resource for more information.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I’m starting to look into out options for solar/wind power for my home. I don’t know where to start, and with a one income home I know 30,000 is a bit steep for our current budget, even with the tax breaks. We are located in Canyon County in Middleton. Is there an option to start out small without breaking the bank?

  9. David Fischel says:

    I appreciate the information posted on your website. We have recently installed a 3200 watt system and are interested in the rebate related to the site assessment. However, I can’t connect to the link listed on your website. Can you tell me how I can get more information on that rebate? Thank you.

  10. Kevin says:

    To Mike and Bruce: I agree that the numbers provided for a 3kW system ($49,000)are out of line and if anything retard the growth of solar in Idaho when presenting numbers like that. Most 3kW systems would probably fall under 30k today. I hope anyone looking at this site also looks at others and talks to their local installing group to get up to date info.
    Kevin

  11. Bruce says:

    In California where I do business I was provided numbers for a 5kw system costs $30,000 minus a minimal utility rebate of 6 percent and a federal tax credit of 30 percent brings my cost down to 19,200. I fail to see how a smaller 3kw system costing $20,000 more than a 5kw system in CA. Enlighten me

  12. T Barnes says:

    Same old story… political correctness and indulgent exploitation of the fruits of technology only for the very wealthy.

  13. No touting my own business. I don’t have one in solar power, but I sure would like to know how to get started, especially with my own home.

  14. Mike says:

    I would like to do something like this, but I cant see how it is worthwhile. Let make sure I understand. Summery:
    It costs me 34000 but only adds 8000 equity.
    Cost 34000 / worth 8000.
    Takes 20 years to pay for and saves roughly 1 house payment a year. Oddly my payment is 744 a month.
    These are the numbers you have for 3 kw in ada county Idaho.
    Sadly these numbers are not going to work for me.
    Thanks Mike

  15. ed says:

    i want to build my own soalr panels can’t afford to pay some one and i’m sick of idaho powers high prices and they are cutting my power off on the a5th of april. we leave in centerville id

  16. Stan Craig says:

    ID is still a great place with a small population. Our Government officials will listen to us if we write, call and email them about moving in a renewal energy direction more quickly. Do it while we still can.

  17. larry jarrett says:

    Hi Bob– Larry Jarrett here- I have spoke with you about a system on the Ranc at stites-

    I am interested in a solar wind combo?
    I would like to put the solar on the roof and the wind on top of the hill above the place- Can I start with a smaller set of panels and add to them also start with less batteries but have the bigger inverter for the larger system-?

    Thanks Larry

  18. Spencer says:

    Explain 25KW criteria?
    producing 25KWH a month? year? Very small gauge for a renewable project.
    Or 25KW system.! Huge! That just eliminated 99% of the small residential wind projects. Explain.

  19. Ask about our “Rent a Roof” solar option. Under this program, we install the system on your residence and collect a rate equal to 80% of your electrical rate. You SAVE 20% on the cost of your electricity the system replaces. It takes an operation the size of Infinergy to be able to offer a program like this and its nice to be part of their network. I expect installing Solar in Idaho will become a significant part of my business now.

  20. We are in Rigby Idaho and have been installing 3kw systems with some success. We are also part of the Infinergy network. Wind power still makes up the bulk of our renewable energy installations but with the recent drop in panel costs combined with the 30% federal credit, solar is at least a viable option now.

  21. Ken says:

    The tax credit lowers your income (before computing taxes), not your taxes due. If you earn $80K/yr, and your solar system costs $100K, you get to take 40% the first year, so that knocks your income down to $40K. You would’ve paid ~8% state income tax on the additional $40K, so you save ~$3200 on your tax bill the first year. After four years, you’d save around $6500 on your taxes.

  22. Ben says:

    yr1: 40% tax credit
    yr 2-4: 20% tax credit
    total: 100% tax credit.
    That sounds like “system is free” if you make enough money to use the tax credit. This sounds too good to be true. Am I missing something?

    Thanks,
    Ben

    1. Rocky Hinten says:

      You’re only missing something because they are using a completely wrong term. A tax “credit” and a tax “deduction” are two very different things, but they just randomly jump back and forth in this write-up, using both terms, so it’s very misleading. A tax credit is basically a 1-to-1 dollars back in your pocket. So if you have a $5,000 tax credit, that actually is $5,000 less you have to pay in taxes, which is straight up money you get to keep. A $5,000 deduction, means it’s like $5,000 of your income that you don’t have to pay the tax on. If your tax is a 10% rate (for easy math), that’s $500 less tax you pay, which you get to keep. The Idaho thing is a deduction, not a credit, so a small percent of the cost of the solar system is what you will get back.

  23. R. C. Brown says:

    I am on Social security, and live off the grid. I don’t get enough money to pay income tax, so tax incentives don’t help. Could I use my energy assistance money to buy solar panels?

  24. Bob Klecha - Idaho County Solar, LLC says:

    hello, ive been doing renewable energy in idaho for 25 years now, how do i get on your list of installers. also, i think you ought to take away another star from idaho’s effort in promoting solar in idaho. you have mentioned our governor and his preference for nuclear. also the $75 and $150 site assesment program is gone, has been for a while now. No program exists to license solar installers and to me the biggest issue is the small electric co-operatives, they have bad grid tie policies, and most people in remote idaho have co-opertives supplying thier power…last year it was posted in the local papers to give your input to the lawmakers of the state for a brand new energy plan for idaho, i made several calls to give my input and no one would call me back. and the sales tax relief is only good if you install over 25KW …thats 25,0000 watts worth of solar ….I bet there isnt one person in idaho using that tax relief program for solar in idaho. wind …maybe thank you, Bob

Have anything to add?

Your email address will not be published.


How much is your roof worth with solar panels?

Slash your taxes, eliminate your power bill and get access to exclusive local deals.

A man giving a thumbs-up to solar panelsCalculate my savings!

(click outside box to exit popup)