When Solar Power Rocks released its 2015 rankings of solar states, Idaho didn’t make the cut. Seriously. The organization counted Washington, D.C. in its rankings which landed Idaho dead last at No. 51.
The state’s solar policies are so fiercely absent and the industry is so stagnant in Idaho that organizations like The Solar Foundation don’t even bother to collect all the data for Idaho that they collect for other states.
Between 2013 and 2014, the state actually lost solar jobs – something that almost seems like it would take work to do when the industry added thousands of jobs in other states.
Fewer than 150 homes in Idaho have solar installed, according to the foundation. And that makes sense when the average payback is upward of 16 years because of a lack of incentives.
While the environment isn’t strong for solar in Idaho, the opportunity is strong. As solar reaches toward grid parity in the absence of incentives, states like Idaho will still see more and more home and business owners install solar.
|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://everylittlebit.com/GenerateYourOwnRenewableEnergy.aspx
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 to 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. Non-residential applicants pay $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
Property Tax Incentive
State Bond Program
State Loan Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Alternative Fuels Data Center