Solar use in Idaho is growing, up 36 percent from 2013 to 2014 and while it only ranks 40th in the nation for solar capacity, with prices dropping, solar is sure to increase. Businesses and homeowners alike are taking advantage of the low start-up costs and the state’s incentive programs to start using this renewable resource. Find information on incentives and learn which companies in Idaho are helping the state go green with solar power.

Idaho’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

Electricity Costs in Idaho

Residential electricity costs are on the rise across the United States, and it’s no different in Idaho. Current prices sit around $.09/kWh, which is below the national average. This could account for the slower adoption of solar in this state. In fact, Idaho’s electricity prices are the fifth lowest in the country.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Solar Resources
in Idaho

Incentives & Solar Policies

Idaho rivals Florida for the amount of sunshine it receives, and residents investing in solar power may see their system paid off in just a few years. This is thanks to the state’s rebate and incentive programs, designed to encourage homeowners to invest in this renewable resource. The Governor’s Office of Energy Resources also offers low-interest loans for those looking to make a move to renewable energy. The state legislature has also made moves to support green technology. Find out more about how to save on solar in Idaho.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

State Energy Loan Program

Low-interest loans are available from the Office of Energy Resources for building improvements that conserve energy. Loans carry 4 percent interest with five-year terms and require project analysis fees of $100 for residential loans and $250 for commercial loans.

None for residential specifically

Renewable Energy Project Bonds

According to Senate Bill 1192, the Idaho Energy Resources Authority is charged with providing financing for non-utility developers of renewable energy projects, including solar photovoltaic installations, in the state.

POLICIES

Rocky Mountain Power Net Metering

Although net metering is not required, all three of Idaho’s investor-owned utilities have net-metering programs. Rocky Mountain Power limits residential systems to 25 kW and limits single customers from generating more than 20 percent during peak production. Net excess generation credits are carried forward to the next month.

Avista Utilities Net Metering

Excess generation during a monthly billing period is credited to a customer’s next bill at the utility’s retail rate for a year. Each year, any remaining credits revert back to the utility with no compensation to the customer.

Idaho Power Net Metering

Residential systems must be 25 kW or smaller and larger commercial systems must be 100 kW to participate. Excess generation credits may be carried forward indefinitely until they are used or the customer discontinues service.

Solar Easements

Idaho’s solar easement provision does not create a right to sunlight, but it does allow parties to voluntarily enter into solar easement contracts to ensure exposure for a solar installation. The solar easement is attached to the property on which it was created and passes with the property title.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

TAX CREDITS

None

Residential Alternative Energy Tax Deduction

Taxpayers are allowed a state income tax deduction of 40 percent of the cost of solar energy devices used for heating or electricity generation during the year in which the system is installed and 20 percent of the cost each year for the next three years. Maximum yearly deduction is $5,000.

None for commercial specifically

EXEMPTIONS

None

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

Contractors & Installers of Solar Panels

If you’re considering going solar in Idaho, here are some contractors to get you going:

Backwoods Solar

Started as a home-based business, Backwoods Solar helps customers create solar solutions using off-grid power.

Where it operatesSandpoint, ID

Year of opening1978

Big Dog Solar Energy

Big Dog consults with its customers to determine the best systems for them, depending on the customer’s own goals.

Where it operatesPocatello, ID

Year of opening2008

Gietzen Electric

Gietzen is a family-owned business that helps its customers save money and decentralize power.

Where it operatesBuhl, ID

Year of opening1973

Intermountain Wind and Solar

Intermountain is dedicated to both renewable solar and wind energy systems for its customers.

Where it operatesWoods Cross, ID

Year of opening2008

Renewable Energy Northwest

Renewable Energy NW designs, sells and installs solar HVAC systems, no-snow walkways, radiant flooring and other solar solutions.

Where it operatesStar, ID

Year of opening2010

SolarCascade

SolarCascade is a solar contractor that provides PV installation as well as financing and system monitoring.

Where it operatesBoise, ID

Year of opening2003

Sun Valley Solar

Sun Valley Solar helps homeowners with energy conservation and Passive Solar Design to help them save money on their electric bills.

Where it operatesKetchum, ID

Year of opening2002

Resources & Info on Solar Panels in Idaho

As solar power becomes more popular, there are more resources available at a state and national level. Find out more about solar policies and advancements in the links below.

Governor’s Office of Energy Resources

This organization coordinates energy planning and policy development. Its mission is to promote the efficient use of energy, which includes developing energy resources like solar.

Idaho Public Utilities Commission

This governing body regulates the electricity rates for the state of Idaho.

Idaho State Legislature

Find out more about policies, bills and laws that relate to solar energy and renewable resources. This also a good place to find contact information for those involved in policymaking.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Idaho Profile

Find out where Idaho ranks nationally on its solar usage and cost of electricity.