daho may not be hailed as a sunny paradise, but its solar power potential is surprisingly robust and shouldn't be underestimated.
Introduction to Solar in Idaho: Lighting up the Gem State
The state sees an average of about 197 sunny days per year (only slightly below the national average of 205) and an average of 4.92 peak sun hours per day. While these numbers may pale in comparison to the sunniest states in the U.S., it's still enough to generate substantial solar power. Importantly, solar systems don't require constant sunlight to function. Even on overcast days, solar panels can still produce electricity, albeit at a reduced rate.
The state of Idaho recognizes the potential of solar energy, and as a result, photovoltaic (PV) installations have seen steady growth over the past years. As of 2023, over 640 megawatts of solar power were installed in the state, placing it on the renewable energy map.
Evaluating the Benefits of Solar Power in Idaho
Wondering why so many homeowners are switching to solar energy? Discover the multitude of advantages offered by solar panels Idaho as we walk you through the financial, environmental, and sustainable perks that are truly illuminating.
Investing in a Clean and Renewable Energy Source
Going solar means investing in a clean, renewable energy source. Unlike fossil fuels, solar power emits no harmful greenhouse gases, making it a perfect choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint. With each kilowatt-hour of solar power, you'll be playing your part in creating a cleaner and more sustainable world.
How Solar Power Reduces Electricity Bills
One of the most immediate and tangible benefits of solar power for homeowners is the potential for significant savings on electricity bills. On average, Idahoans can expect to save approximately $1,200 per year on electricity bills when they switch to solar. In addition, any excess power generated can be fed back into the grid, which often translates into credits on your electricity bill through net metering.
Achieving Energy Independence through Solar
By setting up a solar power system, homeowners can harness the sun's energy and liberate themselves from relying solely on the grid. This self-sufficiency not only keeps the lights on during blackouts but also shields them from surging electricity costs.
The Positive Impact of Solar Panels on Property Value
Lastly, installing a solar solution can add significant value to a property. Homes with photovoltaic systems sell for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar. For an average home in Idaho priced at $442,142, this could mean an extra $18,128 in home value.
The Costs Associated with Solar Panels
Grasping the financial implications and potential profits is paramount for those considering solar power. This section aims to demystify the initial investments and enduring financial rewards linked to installing solar panels in Idaho.
Upfront Costs of Solar Panels Idaho
Solar costs have seen a steady decline over the past decade. As of 2023, the average cost of PV panels in the Gem State is approximately $2.97 per watt before any incentives or tax credits. Given an average solar system size of 6 kW for a single-family home, this equates to a total upfront cost of $17,820.
The upfront cost can be broken down into several components. About 30% ($5,346) goes toward purchasing the solar panels themselves, with the remainder covering the inverter ($1,782), the balance of systems such as mounting and wiring ($4,455), labor costs ($4,455), and additional costs such as permits and inspections ($1,782).
Long-Term Financial Solar Gains
Looking beyond the initial investment, solar modules can provide significant long-term financial benefits. The most immediate is a reduction in electricity bills. For instance, a 6 kW residential system can produce an average of 10,950 kilowatt-hours per year. Considering that the average electricity rate here is about 10.49 cents per kilowatt-hour, this means annual savings of approximately $1,149 on electricity bills.
Solar Incentives in Idaho
Idaho offers a range of enticing solar incentives that can mitigate the upfront costs of setting up photovoltaic panels. Let's explore the top solar incentives currently available to homeowners.
The Federal Solar Tax Credit
The Federal Solar Tax Credit is one of the most significant incentives available to solar buyers. This tax credit allows homeowners to deduct up to 30% of the total installation cost of a solar system from their federal taxes. This means that a typical 6-kilowatt PV setup in the state could be eligible for a tax credit of around $5,346.
Residential Alternative Tax Deduction
Alongside the federal solar tax credit, homeowners can benefit from a residential alternative tax deduction. By installing a solar array in Idaho, you can deduct a whopping 40 percent off the expenses incurred for your solar equipment and installation, effectively reducing your personal income taxes. Moreover, you can enjoy an additional 20 percent deduction annually for the subsequent three years post-installation. Keep in mind that the deduction is capped at $5,000 per year or $20,000 in total.
By implementing net metering, Idahoans with solar systems get the opportunity to sell any extra energy they generate back to the grid. Consequently, these homeowners receive credits on their electricity bills, enabling them to minimize their expenses even further through the use of solar panels for generating their own electricity.
Low-Interest State Energy Loans
Lastly, homeowners can take advantage of the low-interest loans offered through the State Energy Loan Program by the Governor's Office of Energy Resources (OER). This program enables individuals to borrow up to $15,000 for a period of five years, with an attractive interest rate of 4 percent, specifically designed to support the installation of solar systems.
Navigating Idaho Solar Market: Unveiling the Best PV Panel Installers
- EGT Solar
EGT Solar, a reputable provider that emerged over a decade ago, offers comprehensive solar solutions to homeowners in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and the neighboring regions down south. Renowned for their exceptional customer service and top-of-the-line solar panels, EGT has gained recognition for their superb craftsmanship and commitment to customer satisfaction. Setting themselves apart from the competition, the company distinguishes itself by handling the entire solar process internally, avoiding the inconsistencies associated with subcontracting—a prevalent challenge in the industry.
Despite their impressive track record, EGT's services are currently limited to the central and southern parts of the state, leaving a significant portion of the population without access to their offerings. Additionally, the company's website provides only minimal information, making it challenging for potential customers to fully comprehend the range of services available. Also, EGT does not provide lease options or power purchase agreements (PPAs), which may discourage some customers from engaging with their services.
- Pell Solar
With over 15 years of service in Idaho and Southern California, Pell Solar is a trusted local provider based in Boise. They offer unique power storage solutions, such as solar backup with or without a battery, using cutting-edge Enphase IQ8 microinverters to form a microgrid.
Despite being a locally-owned and operated company with a reputation for excellent workmanship, Pell does have a few limitations. It serves only the greater Boise area and does not offer additional solar warranties beyond those that come with the equipment purchased. Their website also lacks detailed information about their services.
- RevoluSun Solar
Despite being relatively new to the state, RevoluSun has made significant strides since its founding in 2018. With roots in Hawaii and Massachusetts, RevoluSun has completed over 8,000 residential PV installations across their locations.
RevoluSun stands out with its diverse team of specialists, offering full-service home energy solutions that go beyond just solar. They offer competitive pricing and a variety of solar panel brand options. However, like Pell Solar, they do not offer additional warranties beyond the manufacturer's warranty that comes with your equipment. Information on their website is also somewhat limited, and their services are restricted to the southwestern portion of the state.
- Intermountain Wind & Solar
Intermountain Wind & Solar is a Utah-based company that extends its services to Idaho and four other surrounding states. Despite its larger scale, Intermountain maintains a small-company customer service feel.
What's commendable about Intermountain is their comprehensive service offerings. From panel and battery installation to electric vehicle chargers and energy monitoring, they cover a vast array of solar-related services. Their selection of high-quality equipment from top brands like SunPower, Qcells, Enphase, and Tesla is impressive, allowing customers to fully customize their solar systems.
The drawback is that their workmanship warranty is shorter than the industry standard. Currently, they only accept cash purchases and solar loans, with no lease options available.
Key Aspects to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Solar Installer
When it comes to choosing an installer, one of the key factors to consider is their experience and track record. Installing solar panels is a specialized task that demands specific skills, and a seasoned installer with a proven history of successful installations is more likely to excel. You can assess their expertise by looking at the number of installations they have completed, reading customer reviews, and verifying relevant accreditations. It's also important to ascertain whether the installer has experience with the particular type of solar system you wish to install, whether it's a grid-tied, off-grid, or hybrid system.
Financial considerations are equally important in the selection process. It's crucial to carefully review the cost breakdown provided by the installer to ensure you have a clear understanding of what you're paying for. This should encompass the cost of the panels, inverter, mounting hardware, labor, permits, and any additional expenses. Be cautious of excessively low prices, as they might indicate the use of inferior equipment or a lack of necessary services. Additionally, make sure that the installer offers robust warranties that cover both the panels and their workmanship. Lastly, check if the installer has established relationships with reputable solar financing companies or banks, as this can streamline the financial aspect for you.
End Note: Solar Power - A Brilliant Switch for Idaho Homeowners
In conclusion, the transition to solar power in Idaho is proving to be a shrewd move for homeowners. Even without the highest sunshine statistics, this state's potential for solar power generation is significant and promises substantial environmental and financial benefits. With the upfront costs mitigated by a slew of incentives, the long-term gains in energy savings, energy independence, and property value enhancement are persuasive. And finally, as the PV market in Idaho matures, homeowners have a multitude of reputable installers to guide them on this energy-efficient journey.