Idaho solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Last updated 11.30.21

Idaho State 54 solar panels available

  • $2.16 / W Average gross price of a solar power system as of May 2023
  • 10 years Average system payback period
  • $38 539 Average savings from going solar in Idaho
  • 6 ¢ / kWh Levelized cost of solar energy
  • 5.37 kW Recommended system size

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in Idaho

Solar panels in Idaho

Idaho #18 in the US
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What our happy customers say

I was in need of new solar panels and found A1 SolarStore while surfing the web. I ordered 13 pieces of REC 360W solar panels at a fairly reasonable price, and also ordered their liftgate service at checkout. everything was very easy and intuitive. I highly recommend A1 SolarStore!
Jesse Tang
Via Google
May 22, 2023
I recently purchased 10 pieces of Q CELLS 480W Solar Panels from A1 SolarStore. The site was incredibly easy to navigate and I found exactly what I wanted without any trouble. They had different payment options, which was great for me. Now I'm just counting down the days until my panels arrive. Overall, I will definitely be buying from them again.
Steve L
Via Google
May 22, 2023
Store was well organized, staff was super friendly and shipping was speedy.
Via Google
May 16, 2023
I have been looking for affordable, quality solar panels for a while! After some research I decided to purchase the Trina 390w solar panels. I loved the price and the customer service & decided to buy with a1solarstore. Even though there was a $275 shipping fee. Was worth it to me to receive the quality product in once piece. Payment processing took a while & could have gone faster - however, totally worth the wait!
Kara J
Via Google
May 9, 2023
The customer service at A1 solar is nothing short of amazing. A person can buy their equipment anywhere and receive that equipment with no support following whatsoever. A1 solar was with me all the way through the purchase process, the acquiring my panels at a distribution center, and finally giving me a discount for the pallet breakage charge because the pallet was already broken up. No other Solar company has given me such excellent customer service. Add that the prices are lower if not similar than the rest, buying from A1 solar is a real no brainer. I am very grateful and lucky to have found them!
Robert Sullivan
Via Google
Apr 27, 2023
The Silfab 490W Solar Panel (156 Cell SIL-490-HN) exceeded my expectations with its exceptional power output and sleek design. Its efficient monocrystalline cells make it a reliable and smart investment for any home. Highly recommended!
Via Google
Apr 25, 2023

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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Idaho you need to know

Save 30% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit

The US government wants more people to go solar: it’s a modern and green way of getting energy. This is why the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program was developed. It allows American citizens to claim 30% of the cost of their installation as an income tax deduction. The cost here is not only solar panels, but also shipping, installation expenses and more. For example, if your system overall made you spend $10,000, the government returns you $3,000. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.

Save from taxation up to $20,000 of your income spent on solar

Idaho citizens can make use not only of the ITC program, but of the State Tax Credit program as well. You can deduct 40% of your solar system cost (shipping and installation included) from the taxable income you got in the year of installation. Then you can keep deducting 20% of its cost for 3 succeeding years. The deduction, however, should not exceed $5,000 per year. Overall, this Idaho solar incentive allows you to save up to $20,000 of your salary from taxation. You claim the deduction when you file your income taxes. Find all necessary forms here. Idaho residents fill in Form 39R (look for “5. Alternative energy device deduction” in the Subtractions section) and then Form 40. Non-residents take Form 39NR and Form 43 afterwards.

Join Net Metering program to cover your electric bills

The essence of the Net Metering program is the same across all the US. You sell the excess energy that your system generates into the commercial grid and gain credits to pay your own bills. However, in Idaho there is not a statewide policy for Net Metering: three main electric companies have different programs which they accord with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

  • Rocky Mountain Power sets the system capacity limit at 25 kW for residential customers and small commercial installations, and at 100 kW for others. Net excess generation (NEG) is credited at a retail rate for the owners of residential and small commercial systems. For others, NEG is credited at 85% of the non-firm energy rate. Credits can be carried over to the following month.
  • Avista Utilities program has a system capacity limit of 100 kW. NEG is credited at a retail rate, but all the unused credits go back to the utility at the end of the year without any compensation.
  • Idaho Power sets the bar at 25 kW for residential and small commercial systems, and 100 kW for other clients. NEG is credited to the customer's next bill as a per kWh credit and carried forward indefinitely.

The Net Metering program is the main way to make money with your solar system. However, before joining in, you should contact your electric supplier for the latest rates and conditions.

Commercial solar is free from property tax, but there is production tax

Commercial solar systems are exempt from property tax in Idaho: their cost is not included in the tax assessment. Instead, there is a production tax: solar energy producers pay 3.5% of gross energy earnings to the state. This makes taxes more gentle for small solar farms. The incentive applies only to commercial solar and doesn’t extend to residential systems.

Go solar easily with Low-Interest Energy Loan Programs

If you want to go solar, but aren’t ready for it financially, consider the Low-Interest Energy Loan program by the Idaho Governor's Office of Energy Resources. The maximum size of a loan is $15,000 for residential installations and $100,000 for others. They are issued for 5 years at a 4% interest rate, plus there is a $100 fee for home projects and a $250 fee for commercial ones. Loans are secured with real property or equipment and you get the money once your project is fully examined. Check a complete guide on applying here.

Solar easements help to settle debates with neighbors

Once you get the permit, it is legal to install solar panels on your house in Idaho. The Idaho solar law claims that your neighbors can't prohibit or limit you from going solar. However, they can impose reasonable rules about the appearance of panels. Plus Idaho citizens are welcomed to voluntarily create solar easements to settle debates. An easement contract is designed to ensure the adequate exposure of a system to the sun. For example, if a tree in your neighbors’ yard has grown so high that it starts to overshadow your panels, the neighbors have to trim it.

Get a permit to install solar panels in Idaho

The process of getting a permit for installing a solar system in Idaho may seem rather long. You’ll have to purchase an electrical permit, prepare a plan for your system, pay all the fees and schedule an inspection. Fortunately, all the information about it was made accessible and every step is explained in detail here by the state officials. Most of the time you can rely on your installer to learn all about getting a permit and you should work together to acquire all the necessary papers.

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