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Idaho solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Idaho State 41 solar panels available

  • $0.64/W Average gross price of a solar power system as of October 2022
  • 3 years Average system payback period
  • 44 882 / year Average savings from going solar in Idaho
  • 3 ¢ / kWh Levelized cost of solar energy
  • 5.72 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

Hi all, i wanted to share my experience of buying from a1solar. I needed panels for my yacht. I wanted to have only 3, but they have a minimum order size for delivery so I opted for pickup. It was good. It went smoothly. I appreciate the split payment that they offer. I basically went to the center, grabbed the panels, loaded ‘em in the truck and drove them home (gotta do it carefully though!). Nice guys too. peace, Carl
Caarl Arlac
Via Trustpilot
Oct 2, 2022
I did business with A1 about half a year ago (it’s september 22 atm) when I needed panels for my home in Phoenix. I took Panasonic, if anyone’s wondering. The system’s doing great, and I think I got really lucky with my installer and the shop as well. If I recall correctly, my order was indeed processed in 24h as promised, delivery took a bit longer than expected but it wasn’t a big deal, these were busy days for fedex. panels were in good shape. I myself checked them thoroughly.
Ryden R
Via Trustpilot
Sep 25, 2022
I like this company. Good service 👍
Daiga Ellaby
Via Google
Sep 19, 2022
i read too much about the broken panels and decided to go with the pickup option. Loved the experience overall. One of their centers was nearby, so I ordered some q cells for myself and drove there. They explained in detail how to drive the package home safely so I was really careful and yeah, now they are in my garage, waiting to be installed. Can’t really complain about anything, panels are fine, the service was cool, and the delivery was on me lol
Via Trustpilot
Sep 19, 2022
So I did order a system, and everything arrived on time, and yes, one panel was broken. But you know what? I’m still going to give them 5 stars. Because 1) they warned me about the possibility of this happening and told me what to do in this case; 2) when I contacted them about it, they handled the situation professionally. I sent them all that they asked for and got a replacement relatively quickly. If it’s anyone’s fault that panels break, then it is the carrier's one. My impression: good service, great prices, commendable customer support.
Will Ghost
Via Trustpilot
Sep 14, 2022
I needed just a couple of panels for the boat, but the staff treated me like I was buying the whole warehouse. I decided to pick the order up myself, their center was within reach. Getting my panels and a Magnum inverter was easier than going for groceries. There is a lot of hard work behind this simplicity. This I know from experience
Filip Scot
Via Trustpilot
Sep 11, 2022

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

Save 26% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit 

The main solar incentive that works across all United States is the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program. By applying to this program, all Americans can deduct 26% of the total cost of their installation from the income tax. The PV system cost doesn’t amount to only how much you’ve spent on your solar panels, but includes the shipping and installation as well. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes. It makes sense to hurry up: in 2023 the Tax credit decreases to 22% and after that it’s 10% for commercial systems only.

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.

Stay tuned

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