Idaho solar panels: The complete guide in 2024

Data updated May 21, 2024

Written by: Emily Walker

Interested in going solar? You'll need to install a 11.62 kW solar panel system to cover the average electric bill in Idaho, which will cost you about $23,278 after the federal tax credit.

Cost for an average system in Idaho


Out of pocket cost, cash
$33,254
Federal tax credit (30%)
- $9,976
Price post tax credit
$23,278

20-year savings $9,929
Payback period 14 Years
Electricity offset 91%
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As long as your federal tax bill is high enough, you can take advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

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Going solar in Idaho

Despite the long winters, Idaho’s sunny skies, consumer-friendly incentives, and net metering programs make it a natural fit for solar panels.

Factor in the federal solar tax credit, and Idahoans can cut the cost of solar by thousands of dollars, speeding up your payback period and increasing the value of your solar investment.

Here's our guide to going solar in Idaho.

Cost

How much do solar panels cost in Idaho?

Solar panels will save you a lot of money over time, but the upfront costs aren't cheap. The average Idaho homeowner needs a 11.62 kW solar panel system to cover their electricity needs, which comes out to $33,254 before incentives. Prices range from $28,266 to $38,242, but after the federal tax credit, that drops by 30%. 

While this may sound high, it will pay off in Idaho. That's why over 3,000 Idaho homeowners have used EnergySage to receive and compare quotes for solar installations. You can expect to earn back your initial solar investment through electricity savings in about 13.95 years, while most systems last at least 25 years. You'll often see this number referenced as your solar payback period.

There are a few ways to finance your solar panel system so you don't have to provide all that money upfront. 

  • Cash purchase: You'll own the system and pay for it upfront. This provides the best long-term savings. 

  • Solar loan: Allows you to retain ownership of your system, while owing little to no money upfront. Solar loans aren't all created equal: If you have access to subsidized clean energy loans through local incentive programs, that's usually your best bet. A home equity loan or a personal loan are often your next best options – private solar loans typically come with higher interest rates or upfront fees.

  • Solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA): A third-party company owns your system and either leases you the solar panels (solar lease) or allows you to purchase the electricity they generate (PPA). These generally provide the lowest savings and generate the most negative press about solar. If you choose this financing option, read the fine print: You can get trapped in them for longer than you'd like.

Solar panels on a house

Incentives

What are the best solar rebates and incentives in Idaho?

Incentives help bring solar's price tag down considerably in Idaho. Here are the major ones to know about:

Incentive
Average savings in Idaho
Description

Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)

$9,976

Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

Idaho Residential Alternative Energy Tax Deduction

Varies depending on your income and tax bracket

Allows you to deduct a portion of your system's cost from your taxable income for the four years after your installation is complete

Idaho State Energy Loan Program

Varies depending on how you finance your system

Provides three- to seven-year low-interest solar loans for home energy upgrades including solar panels

Is net metering available in Idaho?

In some states, you'll earn bill credits from your utility company when your solar panel system generates excess electricity and sends it to the grid. This incentive is known as net metering—basically a solar buyback program—and makes it so you will owe very little, or even nothing, on your electric bills with solar panels. 

Idaho has some great net metering programs, but your rates and eligibility depend on your utility company. Avista and Rocky Mountain Power customers can take advantage of really favorable bill credit rates, whereas Idaho Power’s net billing program reduces compensation by about 32%. 

Learn more about net metering in Idaho or see program details below:

A house with rooftop solar panels connected to the grid

Equipment

Equipment quality

Each year, solar panels get more and more efficient—that is, they produce more power per square foot. As of 2024, the most popular solar panels can produce about 400 watts of electricity when they’re in full sunlight. If you want to make the most of your roof’s solar potential, get panels with at least that much power output.  

You should also make sure to select a solar inverter setup that makes sense for your roof’s layout. 

And if you want or need a solar battery, be sure to pick one that can integrate cleanly with that inverter. 

Premium equipment can come with a high price tag, but it will often save you more money in the long run. The best equipment tends to have the best warranty terms, often guaranteed to 25 years (sometimes even 40!), so you’re covered in case you need repairs or replacements. The highest-quality panels also degrade more slowly, so they’ll maintain more of their power output further into the future. 

See our list of the best solar panels

Companies

Who are the best solar installers in Idaho?

We pre-screen all of the solar companies on EnergySage to ensure they'll provide you with a high-quality installation. We then rate them based on their results, reputation, and responsiveness. Here are the highest-rated EnergySage installers in Idaho:

resources

Top solar resources for Idaho

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