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Idaho solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Last updated 11.30.21

Idaho State 52 solar panels available

  • $2.10 / W Average gross price of a solar power system as of February 2023
  • 10 years Average system payback period
  • $38 823 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 like this company. Good service 👍
Daiga Ellaby
Via Google
Sep 19, 2022
I was choosing between a1solar and another store, the prices finally convinced me,
and I contacted A1. Everything was processed, packed and delivered to Fresno, CA
in under a week. We kept in contact during the installation and I got a few additional
parts from them. A1SolarStore deserves a solid five stars!
Michael Grubb
Via Google
Sep 7, 2022
I ordered some solar panels. The top 4 ones were damaged during delivery (A1 had emailed me in advance what to check for before I took delivery which I followed even though the truck driver was pushing not to inspect them as thouroughly) and A1 replaced them in a timely manner and kept me informed. The price on the panels were some of the best on the internet (delivered). I would buy from them again.
Robert Broughton
Via Google
Nov 27, 2021
Ordering online was easy.
Price was reasonable even with shipping added. Actually, it was the best I could find with the panels I wanted.
Customer service was beyond expectations. I received a phone call after the order to verify everything. The rep also went over receiving instructions. I got an email with recieving procedure. I got a follow up call the day before the panels were to be delivered. The day of delivery, the FedEx call also called. I got a follow call afterwards verifying everything was good.I had 8 350 watt panels shipped. They arrived via FedEx on a pallet. Recieving instructions said to not sign the recieving doc until I inspected everything. I am half paralyzed so I asked my neighbor ahead of time to help unpack the panels to inspect for physical damage. The FedEx guy dropped the pallet in my driveway and handed me the package list and then he very quickly left before I was able to inspect the panels. He said he did not need a signature. My mindset immidiately turned negative since fraud, burglary, murders, etc are now legal, encouraged, and even rewarded in the US. To my relief, the panels turned out to be in good shape.
I have had several different panels prior to ordering from A1 Solar. I am used to solar panels outputting 70% or less of the rated output.I hooked up one panel yesterday and I was getting over 85% at 9:30 AM in direct sun output which really suprised me. This number is what the charge controller reported while charging a 12 volt battery bank. My current project that these panels will be used for is my second offgrid system.
Next year after I have my house electrical panels rebuilt to allow for a whole house battery bank, I will be ordering another 7KWH in panels and I plan to order those from A1 Solar Store.
Junkyard Dog
Via Google
Aug 12, 2021
Solar panels are great quality at a good price! Pick up was very easy!
Quirino Passione
Via Google
Jul 27, 2021
Great price and AWESOME service.
Sam McCleary
Via Google
Jun 23, 2021

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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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