In Idaho, the solar energy revolution has taken off a little more slowly than it has in other states. In fact, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Idaho ranks 41st nationally in terms of installed photovoltaic capacity.
But now, the photovoltaic industry has begun gaining ground in Idaho.
In 2015, 1.95 megawatts of capacity was installed, which is a 105 percent increase over 2014. And further expansion is planned. It would appear that the sun is beginning to shine more brightly on photovoltaic power in Idaho.
Idaho’s first commercial solar farm recently came online.
Situated on 360 acres just south of Boise, the installation has 174,800 photovoltaic panels. It provides 40 megawatts of energy each day to the Idaho Power utility company — enough electricity to power roughly 29,000 homes.
Building on that success, Idaho Power has scheduled eight other photovoltaic projects for completion by the end of 2016. The installations are spread throughout the southern part of the state, with projects in Ada, Elmore, Owyhee and Power counties.
Together, these solar energy systems are expected to produce a combined capacity of 200 megawatts of power.
Idaho Power developed a community solar pilot program to make it easier for Idaho residents to save money using the sun’s energy. Ideal for apartment-dwellers and others who are unable to install rooftop photovoltaic arrays, the program gives customers a monthly price break on electricity costs based upon their system’s photovoltaic output.
Intermountain Wind & Solar also offers a community program to Idaho residents. The Intermountain Community Solar Initiative (ICSI) makes photovoltaic systems more affordable through the power of bulk purchasing. By banding together with neighbors, homeowners can save thousands on their individual photovoltaic system costs.
Idaho doesn’t offer any solar rebates or grants. It also doesn’t require its utility companies to offer net metering. But it’s not all bad news — Avista Utilities, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power all have their own net metering programs.
Plus, there’s a residential alternative energy tax deduction for photovoltaic system installations. The first year your system is operational, you can get an income tax deduction of 40 percent of your total installation costs. For each of the next three years, you can deduct another 20 percent. Every year, you can deduct up to $5,000 for a maximum deduction of $20,000.
Idaho also has a low-interest loan program to help more homeowners switch to photovoltaic power. And don’t forget the federal solar tax credit, which gives you back up to 30 percent of your costs when you file your income taxes.
Compared to most other states, the solar financial incentives available for Idaho homeowners are impressive. It’s no wonder the enthusiasm for photovoltaic energy is growing. If you’re ready to say goodbye to your electric bills and assert your energy independence, Intermountain Wind & Solar can help you take advantage of these impressive benefits. Contact us to schedule your free Idaho solar energy estimate today.
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