One of the more northerly states, Idaho isn’t known for a warm climate, but it does get plenty of sunshine. In fact, most of Idaho gets more sun than the national average. As such it’s a great place for photovoltaics. In fact, the state gets more sun than Florida, despite its northerly location. As such homeowners can expect a decent return on investment for going solar.
As of October 2012, to promote the use of solar and other renewable energy as well as energy efficiency, Idaho offers a number of powerful incentives through the Governor’s Office of Energy Resources and others. It also offers tax deductions, rebates and low-interest rate loans for solar systems. Under the incentives a solar system could be paid off in a few years.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Technologies||Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells, Small Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels|
|Amount||Varies by utility|
|Official Web Site||
Avista Utilities: http://en.openei.org/wiki/Avista_Utilities_-_Net_Metering_(Idaho)
Rocky Mountain Power: http://www.rockymountainpower.net/env/nmcg.html
While Idaho does not have a statewide net-metering policy each of its investor-owned utilities Avista Utilities, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power offers net-metering. Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved each of the net-metering schemes. The net-metering schemes are limited too smaller, residential and small commercial systems. However, since there’s no state policy, the utilities are not required to offer reimbursement for net excess generation. Depending on which utility a customer has service with they may reimburse all or a percentage of the excess generation in terms of a kilowatt hour credit on the customers’ bill. To learn more about each program, click on the links above or reach out the utility or an installer.
State Loan Program
|Technologies||Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Geothermal Direct-Use, and Energy Efficiency Upgrades|
Residential: $1,000 to $15,000
Commercial: $1,000 to $100,000
Agricultural: Up to $100,000
Renewable Loans: Up to $100,000
Schools, Hospitals, Healthcare Facilities: Up to $100,000
4% interest rate, repayable over five years.
|Official Web Site|
Through the Governor’s Office of Energy Resources Idaho offers low-interest rate loans for renewable energy, like solar wind and other technologies, as well as energy efficiency projects. The state’s interest rate is set at 4% and carries a 5-year repayment term. Residential applicants must pay a $100 fee for the loan and others, $250. Applications for the program are available at the link above.
Under the program residents can finance renewable energy and energy efficiency retrofits, including insulation, space heating upgrades and water heating system improvements.
Commercial and other entities in the state can use the loans to finance projects to improve insulation, windows and doors, heating systems, building commissioning, or custom-designed projects.
To be eligible, the project must produce enough energy savings from reduced usage of cover its costs. For new off-grid projects, renewable energy must be the lowest cost alternative. Renewable energy projects have to be designed for onsite use.
|Program Type||Residential Alternative Energy Tax Deduction|
Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps
|Amount||40 percent for the first year, and 20 percent per year for the following three years|
|Required Documentation||Dependent on method of installation (either you or your contractor)|
|Official Web Site||http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title63/T63CH30SECT63-3022C.htm|
Idaho’s Residential Alternative Energy Tax Deduction covers a variety of green technologies including solar, wind and certain forms of biomass. The deduction allows a purchaser of an alternative energy system to deduct costs “attributable to the construction, reconstruction, remodeling, installation or acquisition of the alternative energy device with the system” from their taxes over a period of four years. Under the deduction the purchaser can deduct 40 percent of the system’s value from their taxes in the first year, and 20 percent of the value for three years. Homeowners can claim a maximum deduction of $5,000 per year for a maximum of $20,000. You or your contractor will have to compile documentation to be eligible for the deduction.
The deduction is also combinable with federal alternative energy tax breaks. Basically if the value of the system is less than $20,000, when combined with federal tax credits the purchaser can gain more than the full value of a solar system or alternative energy back.
This particular deduction is claimed on the Idaho Supplemental Schedule, Form 39R, and you can contact the Idaho State Tax Commission at http://tax.idaho.gov for more details.
Non-Profit Grant Program
Non-Profit Rebate Program
Property Tax Incentive
State Bond Program
State Loan Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides information, data and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision-makers find ways to reduce petroleum consumption through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.