How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Power in Idaho
Looking to install solar power in your Idaho home? You’re making the right move—with huge government incentives, solar power in this state can be super lucrative, some of the most generous incentives in the nation, in fact. Idaho residents already have a great track record showing their support for renewable energy, and with solar power about set to grow to record installation numbers throughout the whole country, residents here who decide to set up a solar PV array on their homes stand to take advantage of some deep discounts in the form of massive government rebates that can make system costs very affordable.
Additionally, the area shows great promise when it comes to solar productivity, as well, making solar power a largely untapped resource. That means that early adopters may stand to benefit enormously from incentivizing measures at both the state and local levels.
Solar Productivity in Idaho
The winds may be fierce in Idaho, but that doesn’t mean this state doesn’t see its fair share of sunshine, as well. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s estimates show that this state ranks in the upper echelons of solar production—with a UV index level of 0.93, it comes in ninth in the nation. Boise, for instance, gets an average 13:40 sunlight hours per day in July. That means that there’s plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the state’s plentiful renewable energy resources—for solar as well as wind.
Solar Popularity in Idaho
Solar energy may not be as popular throughout the state as wind power, but it’s definitely gaining some traction. In fact, in just one year, installations here increased 105 percent, according to industry estimates. And residents in Idaho stand to reap the benefits of massive incentives, meaning there’s a lot to gain by being an early adopter here. In fact, the state has invested in large utility scale solar projects, as well—a 20 MW solar plant is being built by the government near the Boise Airport. Additionally, a private solar power plant is expected to wrap up construction near Twin Falls at the end of 2016.
Idaho Average Residential Electricity Use and Cost
With your state’s long, chilly winters, you probably spend more than enough time with the heat on high in your Idaho home, which adds up in terms of energy consumption. In fact, Idaho residents use much more energy than the national average—an annual 5,297 kWh, compared to 4,566 for the country as a whole. Thankfully, residents here also pay some of the lowest prices for energy in the nation—about 8 cents per kWh, while the rest of the country pays an average 4 cents more than that. Those low costs are largely due to heavy investments in renewable energy, something you can be a part of if you install solar power in your home.
Installing Solar in Idaho
Owing mostly to the state’s far-flung population, there are only a few installation companies throughout the state, and they’re mostly located throughout the southern part of the state. But those few installers have still set up an estimated 4.6 megawatts of solar capacity throughout the state, meaning they have plenty of experience between them.
Idaho State Solar Support
Like a lot of western states, Idaho has passed down guidelines to utilities, but left the majority of policy creation largely to local providers. And unlike other areas, the state still hasn’t passed a renewables portfolio standard, setting a clear commitment toward moving over to renewable energy in the future. Still, the state has a massive statewide tax credit that makes its stance on renewables clear: Idaho is one of the leaders in clean energy with a huge wind power program that has lowered electricity rates throughout the area to some of the lowest prices in the nation. While wind power has been most of the state’s focus, solar is a burgeoning industry here—the state’s installation numbers are growing, and with top-level solar productivity rates, installing solar in your Idaho home is a very smart move, indeed.
Idaho State Solar Incentives
Idaho may not offer a huge variety of incentives, but that doesn’t mean that it’s rebates are meager. In fact, this state’s tax credits are among some of the most generous offerings in the nation, making solar equipment purchasing in this state one of the most affordable in the country.
- Residential Alternative Energy Tax Deduction: The Idaho state government provides one of the more generous tax credits in the nation, a massive rebate amounting to 40 percent of the cost of equipment for the year of installation, and 20 percent of the system cost for the next three years. There is a $5,000 per-year incentive limit.
- State Energy Low-Interest Loan Programs: The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy Resources offers a low-interest lending program for residents installing renewable energy in their homes. Loan amounts are between $1,000 to $15,000, with a four percent flat interest rate, and a repayment term of five years. There is a 100 dollar application fee. For more information and to apply, access the program’s website.
Incentives organized at the national level are available for Idaho residents as well—most notably, the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, a rebate that returns solar households 30 percent of the cost of a new PV system. The solar array must be large enough to make up 50 percent of a home’s energy needs. Solar water heaters and some other solar equipment may also be covered by the rebate. When completing your income taxes, fill out form form 5965 to see if you qualify.
Idaho Local Solar Incentives
In Idaho, many of the state’s incentives are managed through local utilities. Most notably, this area’s net-metering program, which allows residents with solar installations to credit back generation against their electricity usage, is run through the state’s three main utility providers. However, the public utilities council oversees these programs and has provided guidelines and provisions ensuring that these programs offer the same basic incentives to customers. In addition, you may qualify for a rebate through your gas provider when you purchase a solar water heater as well.
- Net Metering: Unlike most states, Idaho does not have a statewide net metering program. However, its three largest utilities, Avista Utilities, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power all have their own net metering policies, which have been approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Council. That means incentives and regulations can vary depending on your local provider, but generally the policies are set up the same: they all have a size limit of 100 kilowatts, and a single residential-owned system cannot encompass more than 20 percent of all the power in a single area. Excess generation is credited back to the next bill at retail rate. For specific program details, contact your local energy provider.
- Questar Gas Residential Solar Assisted Water Heating Rebate Program: Customers of Questar Gas can receive a rebate worth up to $750 applied towards the purchase of a solar water heater or solar pool heating system. For more information, visit the ThermWise® Appliance Program’s website.