Your Guide to Getting Solar in Idaho

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As of the first quarter of 2021, Idaho has become home to 8,665 solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. Together, these PV systems generate enough energy to power 79,587 homes. What’s more, The Gem State expects to add 413 megawatts (MW) more solar capacity in the next five years.

All that proves that more folks are going solar in Idaho, and it’s time you consider doing the same.

We’ll give you the basic facts you need to know about switching to solar power in Idaho, so be sure to read on.

Determine How Much Direct Sunlight You Get Each Day

Solar panels can convert direct, indirect, and reflected sunlight into energy. That’s why they can still generate power even when it’s cloudy, albeit at a lower rate.

However, solar panels still perform best during peak sun hours, when the sun’s intensity is at least 1,000 W/m². This means that for every peak sun hour, the sun’s light has an average energy rating of 1,000 watts per square meter.

You’d want to know how many peak sun hours you get, as it’s during this time that PV panels reach their maximum output. Fortunately, Idaho, like Florida and Hawaii, averages 4 to 5 peak sun hours a day.

Just keep in mind that the actual number of peak sun hours you receive depends on where you are in Idaho. Moreover, you need to factor in the location of the panels; they should have an obstructed view of the sky. This could be the rooftop of your Idaho home or a large patch of ground that receives direct sunlight.

Figure Out the Number of Solar Panels You Need

Let’s say your top reason for going solar in Idaho State is to lower your electricity bills as much as possible. In this case, your panels should generate around the same number of watts you use each day.

For example, let’s use Idahoans’ average monthly electricity usage, which was 949 kWh in 2019. That puts the average daily electricity consumption at 31.6 kWh (949 kWh divided by 30 days). So, if you want to eliminate your electricity bills, your solar panels should generate 31.6 kWh per day.

If you invest in high-efficiency PV panels, such as those with a rated output of 400 watts, you’d need fewer panels. That’s because one 400-watt panel can produce 400 watts per peak sun hour. So, if you get at least four peak sun hours, each panel would have a 1.6 kWh output during that period.

In that situation, you’d need only about 20 400-watt panels to offset your 31.6 kWh electricity usage each day.

Take Advantage of Solar Incentives in Idaho

According to, Idaho offers a tax deduction for solar investments. In the case of residential homeowners, it’s a 40% personal income tax deduction. This applies to the cost of buying and installing the solar PV system.

Aside from that state-provided incentive, there’s also the federal tax incentive. If you invest in solar anytime from 2021 to 2022, you can get a 26% federal tax credit. If your project begins in 2023, you can still get a 22% tax incentive.

What’s more, Idaho offers net metering programs, which are credit-based incentives. In this case, your utility company can give you credits if you send them electricity from your panels. You can then use these credits to reduce your electricity bills further.

Going Solar in Idaho Is Totally Worth It

With its adequate peak sun hours and attractive incentives, the Gem State is no doubt a great solar state. Besides, going solar in Idaho also means you’re doing your part in helping preserve the planet. After all, you’d rely less on fossil fuels, the combustion of which is a key reason for global warming.

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