Known as the Gem State, Idaho is renowned for its natural beauty. However, this environmentally-forward region doesn’t have much drive to support renewable energy. With already low utility rates, homeowners might wonder if it’s even worth considering solar panels in Idaho.
For those looking to improve their carbon footprint, there’s still good news; solar energy is affordable in the Gem State. And while total net returns feel marginal compared to other states, homeowners can find savings of $10,000 or more with an array. Here’s everything you need to know before you make your decision.
Average Cost of Solar Panels in Idaho
The cost of solar panels in Idaho is on the more affordable side, compared to other states. Homeowners can expect to pay about $2.52/W. For a typical, 6kW system, Idahoans would pay about $15,120. While that price runs slightly lower than average, people living in the Gem State might not feel motivated to commit to that price.
Although solar can save homeowners quite a bit on electric bills, it’s not much of an issue in Idaho. The state features some of the lowest power rates in the country, with an average monthly payment of less than $100 a month. With bills that low, it would take Idahoans several more years than most to pay off a solar panel system.
For the environmentally passionate, however, there are ways to drop the price of an array. The federal solar tax credit, one of the foremost incentives, offers a 30% credit on installation costs. This would drop the price of a 6kW system in Idaho from $15,120 to $10,584.
How Much Solar Do Idahoans Need?
The average cost of solar panels in Idaho gives a general idea of how much you might have to budget, but it also might not reflect your personal situation.
To accurately discover how much solar you need, you’ll have to divide your household’s typical daily electricity usage by the amount of peak sunlight. We’ll show you what that looks like using Idaho’s standards as an example.
Homeowners in the Gem state will use, on average, 31.9kWh a day (derived from 955kWh a month). When we divide that by the state’s average peak sun of 4.92 hours, we learn that the typical Idahoan household will need 6.5kW of solar to cover usage.
With standard rates of $2.52/W, this array would cost about $16,380. You can do this simple math with the numbers that match your own household. To find the peak sun hours for your nearest city, check out this Idaho sun chart.
Idaho Solar Cost Factors
As explained above, the peak sun is one of the foremost aspects that affect the cost of solar panels in Idaho. This factor can vary by region, with cities such as Boise getting as much as 5.9 hours. To see more of how geographic location can make the price of solar fluctuate, you can compare the average costs in Idaho’s neighboring states:
Homeowners in the Gem State should also consider the type of solar panel in their array. While monocrystalline equipment is more efficient than polycrystalline, it’s also more expensive.
Those that receive ample sunlight can get away with more affordable panels. However, if roof space is limited, it’s recommended to prioritize efficiency.
Finally, it’s worth your time to carefully choose your solar installer. Some companies offer lower rates to undercut the competition, but they may lack the experience or quality to support your system over the course of its lifetime.
Because of the small market in Idaho, homeowners have only a few quality choices. Otherwise, you’ll have to take your chance with a large, corporate installer.
Best Solar Installers in Idaho
When reviewing solar installers, we trust EnergySage’s suggested qualifications. Endorsed by the SEIA and the U.S. Department of Energy, EnergySage is one of the leading solar review companies in the country. While searching for a solar installer for your home in Idaho, they suggest choosing a company that meets the following prerequisites:
- Several years of industry experience,
- Contractor transparency,
- Top-of-the-line equipment,
- Industry-standard warranties,
- Proper certifications.
Here are our suggested companies in Idaho.
Sun Driven Solar has its headquarters in Boise, Idaho. With five years of experience installing solar panels, this company is starting to build its reputation. It holds several certifications, including NABCEP and Pearl. The company prides itself on local, in-house contractors and offers a quality, 10-year workmanship warranty.
However, if you’re looking for installers with more experience, you’ll want to go with Magic Solar. This company has 13 years of experience, and handles many of Idaho’s large industrial and commercial projects. While their certifications are modest, they hold all the required licenses and offer competitive warranties with industry-standard equipment.
Can Solar Energy Save Idahoans Money?
While the cost of solar panels in Idaho ranges on the lower side, homeowners might find it hard to justify an installation. Although net savings exist, they might feel underwhelming compared to other states.
To figure out what the total return could look like, we’ll first have to discover how long it would take to pay off the system. With an average annual utility bill of $1,194.12 ($99.51 a month), homeowners in Idaho could cover the cost of a 6kW solar array in 12.7 years. This is nearly three years longer than most states.
After offsetting the cost of a solar panel system, Idahoans will start to see money coming back. Considering an array’s lifetime of 20-25 years, homeowners could save money on utilities of as much as $8,717 to $14,688. That’s significantly less than other areas around the country, so you’d really need to be married to the environmental benefits of solar to take advantage of a system.
Solar Panels in Idaho: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives
Although there’s not much to motivate homeowners to make the switch, a few incentives exist for those that feel passionately about solar panels in Idaho. As mentioned above, the first place to start saving money is through the federal solar tax credit. Offering a 30% return on solar installations, Idahoans could save nearly $5,000 upfront.
As far as state-level support goes, however, Idaho has some of the weakest renewable standards. Beyond a reasonably decent state tax credit, homeowners might not find many other incentives. For a complete breakdown of solar benefits in the Gem State, check out this list we wrote.
Solar Panels in Idaho: Further Reading
While it’s always the environmentally beneficial decision to make, homeowners might struggle to justify solar panels in Idaho. Still, those that make the switch can find net returns on their electricity bills. For more on how the Gem State supports emerging technology, read these articles below.
- Solar Panels in Connecticut: Cost, Savings, and Rebates – Here’s how Idaho compares to one of the leading states in solar energy.
- Owning an EV in Idaho: Charging Cost, Incentives, and More – With its cities spread out far, is it the right decision to own an electric vehicle in Idaho? Read on to find out.
- Top 12 Internet Providers in Idaho – Looking to stay connected in the Gem State? These top Idahoan internet providers have you covered.