Cost of solar panels in Idaho

How much is it to go solar in 2024?

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house in Idaho with solar panels installed on the roof

The average cost to install solar panels is $26,000 in Idaho before taking into account the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). The price drops to $18,200 after the full ITC.

Going solar in the Gem State is about 9% more expensive than the national average. The out-of-pocket investment might be higher than in other states, but you can save on your solar installation with a few tax breaks and rebates.


Key insights

  • The average cost per watt is $3.01 in Idaho.
  • The average payback period in Idaho is 13 years if you pay for your system in full upfront.
  • Idaho residents who go solar save an estimated $11,478 over 25 years.

How much do solar panels cost in Idaho?

Installing residential solar panels can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 or more, with individual costs varying. On average, residents of Idaho pay $26,000 before using tax credits or incentives for their system.

Your system’s size plays a big factor in how much you pay overall. Not surprisingly, the smaller your system, the less you pay. The average size of solar energy systems in Idaho is 10 kW.

You can easily determine what size system you need for your home. First, find out the amount of electricity you used in the last year in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You can find this information through your electric bill’s online account dashboard.

Then, divide your annual kWh by 1,200 to find the system size you need. For example, the typical Idaho household uses 11,532 kWh per year. Using this formula, the typical household would need a 10-kW system.

» WATT’S THE DIFFERENCE? kW vs. kWh

Average cost by system size in Idaho

Source: EcoWatch

Are solar panels worth it in Idaho?

Solar panels are worth it for many Idahoans for the long-term savings on energy bills. Idaho gets a good amount of sunlight, especially in the summer, which contributes to the effectiveness of solar panels.

“The cost and the difference with my electricity bill made me look into solar energy services,” Rae in Boise said. “So far, we're well satisfied with our decision to go solar.”

Idaho receives an average of 4 to 4.5 peak hours of sunlight a day.

There are potential downsides, though. Idaho has relatively low electricity rates, so your payback period is longer than in other states.

Going solar works out for the most part, according to reviews on our site. For instance, Terra in Coeur d’Alene told us: “Happy we are part of the solar grid! With the cost of everything going up this will at least cover us with inflation. Not to mention resale value if we ever sell our home.”

» STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

Cost factors of going solar in Idaho

There are several factors to consider to determine how much your new system will cost. These include equipment prices, permit costs and roof repair.

Solar equipment costs

Solar equipment costs vary depending on how well the equipment works and the brand. For example, solar panels with high efficiency will be more expensive than panels that are less efficient at converting sunlight into usable energy for your home.

Solar panels are generally priced per watt. In Idaho, the typical cost per watt is $2.60. Here are some average costs you can expect for other equipment:

Condition of your roof 

Your roof needs to be able to handle the size and weight of the panels. That’s why it’s important to get a roof inspection before you install solar panels. Plus, solar panels last around 25 to 30 years, and your roof needs to last just as long. Otherwise, you have to pay to have your panels removed during your roof renovation and then reinstalled.

» SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

How you pay

You can choose from various financing methods to get your solar panel system up and running, each with pros and cons. Paying in cash means covering the total cost upfront. You’ll own the system, which can reduce the overall expenses because you avoid interest.

Opting for a solar loan is an alternative, allowing you to borrow the necessary amount and repay it gradually. Although interest is a factor, the financial benefits from your solar power could offset this.

Solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) are other options. With a lease, you rent the solar equipment, often with minimal or no initial costs, but you don’t own the system. With PPAs, a third party owns and installs the panels, and you purchase the generated electricity at a predetermined price, leading to lower energy bills without the perks of ownership.

» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

Local permits

If you live inside the city limits, more than likely, you'll need to get permits to add solar panels to your home. Expect permits to add several hundred dollars to the overall cost.

Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in Idaho

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor in reducing the cost of going solar in Idaho. If you install a residential solar panel system by the end of 2032, you will receive a tax credit equal to 30% of the system's total cost, including equipment, labor and permits. The credit drops to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

The average ITC value in Idaho is $7,800 in 2023.

Idaho also offers several incentives to help with the price of going solar. You can get a tax deduction for a portion of the cost of your solar system, up to $20,000. If you’re a customer of Dominion Energy, you can also get a $750 rebate for solar water heaters.

Can’t pay out-of-pocket for your system? The Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources offers low-interest solar loans of up to $30,000.

» EXPLORE: Idaho solar incentives

Compare solar installation companies in Idaho

Compare popular solar companies available in Idaho below. Read our guide to finding the best solar companies for more.

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

How are solar costs trending in Idaho?

The cost to go solar in Idaho has fallen 43% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Can I get free solar panels in Idaho?

You can lease or enter a PPA with little to no upfront costs. Still, neither is totally free. Solar leases generally require a flat monthly fee; power purchase agreements let you purchase electricity at a predetermined rate.

» FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

How much can I save with solar panels?

When you pay cash, the average 25-year savings with solar is $11,478 in Idaho. It’s a common misconception that solar panels always eliminate your monthly power bill — this is not always the case.

The good news is people who still have a bill after going solar are paying significantly less than they were before. You can expect to offset your electricity bill by 79% to 107%, according to EnergySage.

» EXPLORE: Where solar savings go the furthest

How does net metering work in Idaho?

If your solar system generates surplus energy, you can opt to sell the extra power to your electricity provider via net metering. However, Idaho lacks a uniform net metering policy across the state.

Avista Utilities, Idaho Falls Power, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power provide net metering for residential systems up to 25 kW. Due to the absence of statewide regulations, though, the net metering agreements can differ among utility companies.

» COMPARE: Best solar monitoring systems

Is it cheaper to install solar panels myself?

It’s potentially cheaper to install solar panels yourself. It’s also tricky and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, especially for a large residential project.

» DIY solar panels: Pros and cons

Will hail damage my solar panels?

Yes, hail can damage solar panels, but you shouldn’t let that deter you from installing them. Many solar panels can withstand smaller hail more common in areas like Idaho. The cost of fixing any damage that does occur may be covered by your homeowners insurance.

Bottom line

Idaho is one of the greenest states in the country. Solar panels in Idaho cost more than in other states, but with the ITC and solar incentives from the state, you can lower that cost by a lot. Just be sure to factor in the cost of equipment, permits and potential fixes to your roof before taking out a solar loan.

» GUIDE: Solar panel installation 

Solar costs: Idaho vs. nearby states

*Before the federal investment tax credit (ITC); **When you pay in full upfront

Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. EcoWatch, “How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Idaho?” Accessed Nov. 6, 2023.
  2. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Nov. 6, 2023.
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Idaho Solar.” Accessed Nov. 6, 2023.
  4. DSIRE, “Idaho Programs.” Accessed Nov. 6, 2023.
  5. EnergySage, “Idaho solar panels: local pricing and installation data.” Accessed Nov. 6, 2023.
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