Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Idaho

Idaho's state solar tax credit combined with the federal solar tax credit can mean big savings on rooftop solar installation in the Gem State.

The companies providing quotes may differ from those described in our independent reviews.
The town of Ketchum, Idaho, is seen with mountains in the background and foliage in the foreground.

Idaho gets a lot of sun. Solar panels can help you capture it.

Tetra Images/Getty Images

Idaho gets three-quarters of its in-state electricity from renewable sources, the fourth highest share of any state. While most of that comes from hydropower, the state is taking steps to make sure rooftop solar panels on the homes of Idahoans are part of the mix.

If you live in Idaho, you can take advantage not only of the 30% federal solar tax credit, but also a state tax deduction of 40% of the cost of your solar panel system. You can also deduct 20% more each year for up to three more years, with caps of $5,000 per year and $20,000 total.

That's a big incentive, and it helps balance out the fact that electricity is pretty cheap in the Gem State. The average electricity cost was 11.78 cents per kilowatt-hour in June, among the lowest in the country, and the average electricity bill that month was less than $90. 

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If you're looking for energy independence and freedom from fluctuating electricity prices, here's what you should know about going solar in Idaho -- starting with the best solar installation companies operating within the state.

Best national solar panel companies in Idaho

SunPower Solar

Best solar panels

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If you're looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is your best choice. But don't write it off if you're looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list available to more people.

  • Equipment 8 / 10
  • Warranty 8.5 / 10
  • Service 7 / 10
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Freedom Forever

Best for cash customers

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Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, though the company says that's changing.

  • Equipment 9.3 / 10
  • Warranty 7 / 10
  • Service 5 / 10
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Tesla Solar

Most affordable

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Tesla's solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk's ventures. Even Tesla's Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won't budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla's service is a bit of a gamble.

  • Equipment 7.3 / 10
  • Warranty 6.5 / 10
  • Service 8 / 10
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Local solar panel companies in Idaho

Serving residential, commercial and agricultural customers in Idaho and Colorado, Big Dog Solar specializes in solar installations. The company provides three residential customer options: grid-tied, off-grid and grid-tied with battery storage. Staying connected to the grid and adding battery storage is beneficial for net metering credits and for use during lower production times, such as winter. Big Dog guides customers through the installation process and offers a 25-year quality of work warranty. The website currently does not display financing options, but the company provides a free custom quote. 

Since 2010, EGT Solar installs custom solar designs for homes and businesses in the central and southern regions of Idaho. EGT Solar states it keeps every part of the process in-house with licensed contractors, which is helpful for clear communication and updates throughout the process. The company offers financing options, including loans through a third party, with rates ranging from 2.99% to 6.99%. 

Headquartered in Boise, Idahome Solar provides solar panel and battery installations, repairs and maintenance. Though the business was founded in 2019, it's fully licensed, keeping every part of the process in-house. Idahome Solar says it donates to local nonprofits and sponsors athletic programs at local schools. The website does not detail financing options but offers a free estimate.

How to determine which solar company in Idaho is best for me

Solar panels aren't an impulse purchase. This is a big project costing tens of thousands of dollars, and you should approach it carefully. Your first step: Identify several companies that could potentially do the work.

Once you have a list of potential installers, narrow the list to those who offer the products and services you're looking for and those with good customer reviews and reputations. Get detailed quotes from multiple companies -- they should come to your house and look at your roof, as well as consider your energy usage and needs. Choose not just based on price, but who can do the job and who offers the best warranties and service.

Want something smaller than a whole-home solar system? See our picks for the best portable solar panels and solar generators.

Cost of solar panels in Idaho 

Here's a look at the average cash price for a typical solar panel system in Idaho before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com.

Average cost of solar panels in Idaho

Typical system size (kW)Price per wattTotal installed costCost after 30% federal tax credit
Idaho 8$3.46$27,680$19,376
National average 8.6$3.67$31,558$22,091

The following map will show you the total cash price, cost per watt and system size for a typical solar panel system in your state, according to data from FindEnergy.com. The prices displayed don't factor in tax credits or state incentives. Certain states don't have any FindEnergy solar data and are grayed out on the map.

Idaho solar panel incentives and rebates

Even with solar prices decreasing 52% in the last decade, installation is a substantial investment. Solar tax credits and incentives are available to make choosing green energy more affordable. Applying for the federal residential clean energy credit, a federal incentive, saves 30% on the total cost of a solar system and appears as a credit on your next filed tax return. The credit is valid from the beginning of 2022 through 2032 before decreasing to 26%. 

Idaho does not offer property or sales tax exemptions for a solar installation. This means, you could see a raise in your property taxes since a solar panel install can raise the value of your home and sales tax is likely added to your total price tag. 

Here are other solar incentives in Idaho. 

Idaho solar incentives


Residential alternative energy tax deduction

An income tax deduction of 40% of the cost of a solar system is applied the year of installation, then a 20% deduction the following three years. The maximum deduction for one year is $5,000 and $20,000 in total. 

Net metering

Idaho does not have regulations for net metering, so rates and policies may vary by the utility company. Avista offers net metering in which you receive electricity credits in exchange for excess generated energy. The credits can be applied to your next electricity bill. 

Rocky Mountain Power net billing (PDF)

Solar customers sell excess energy back to the utility company in exchange for credits.

Energy loan program (PDF)

The state offers low-interest loans for renewable energy projects on homes and businesses. Single-family homes can receive loans up to $50,000.

Residential clean energy credit (PDF)

Receive a 30% federal tax credit on your next return for solar systems installed through 2032. The credit decreases in 2033 to 26% then 22% in 2034. The credit is set to expire after 2034. 

How to pay for solar panels in Idaho

Solar panels can be a major investment. Consider all of your payment options before making a final decision. While some options have more potential benefits, it depends on your budget. 

Cash: A cash purchase is best for a quicker return on investment since there are no fees and interest like with a loan. If you are planning ahead, consider putting savings flagged for solar purchase in a high-yield savings account which can earn interest while it sits. 

Loans: Solar loans are an option but may result in interest and fees, which can add up to paying more in the long run. You can also consider home equity or personal loans from a bank or other lender, or a home equity line of credit. Home equity financing comes with its own risks -- your home is the collateral -- but might offer lower rates and better terms.

Other options: Solar leases and power purchase agreements are options to experience savings from solar without owning the panels yourself. For solar leases, you pay a fixed monthly price to the solar company, which installs and owns the panels. Power purchase agreements differ because you pay a fixed price per kilowatt-hour of electricity the solar panels use. You won't be eligible for the tax credits for those systems -- the company that owns them will get that credit.

Installation factors to keep in mind

Before deciding on installing solar panels or choosing a solar company, review the following questions.

  1. Does your current insurance policy cover solar panels? If you need help, contact your home insurance company to update your policy. 
  2. Where is your home located? Solar panels perform best with direct sunlight. Even though solar panels can generate electricity with shade, consider whether your home is located in the best place for sunlight. 
  3. Are you part of an HOA? Homeowner associations in Idaho are not allowed to make rules prohibiting solar panels, but there may be guidelines for placement. Check the rules for your HOA or other neighborhood association for any restrictions. 
  4. What is your roof's condition? Repairs must be made before installation if you have an old or damaged roof. Removing solar panels to repair your roof is possible, but an additional expense. Factor any needed repairs into your total cost.
  5. Are you a renter? Solar options for renters include community solar programs for a subscription-style service. 
  6. Is the process completed in-house? Some solar companies hire subcontractors to complete parts of the installation process, which can be confusing for communication. It's important to ask your selected company whether or not they do all of the work in-house. If not, ensure you have a list of who to contact during the process.
  7. Have you received multiple quotes? Getting price estimates from multiple companies can help you decide which is right for your budget.
  8. What is the company's warranty? Most companies offer a quality of work warranty in addition to manufacturer warranties. The warranties usually range from 10 to 25 years. When comparing price quotes, also compare the length and terms of the warranty.
  9. What kind of solar panels will you get? Some panels are more efficient than others. And if you get a solar roof, you might have a system that looks more like traditional shingles. 

How we found the best solar companies

Our methodology

The companies we listed above as "the best" are curated from CNET's best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we've completed a full review on a company or not, it's always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

Idaho solar panel FAQs

How much do solar panels cost in Idaho?

The total cost for your home will depend on the system size, roof repair and additional equipment (like solar batteries). The national average cost is $2.99 per watt for an 8-kilowatt system, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

What is net metering?

Net metering is an agreement with the utility to receive credits for excess generated electricity. This means the energy generated from the solar system you don't use can save you money on your utility bill. In Idaho, net metering is not mandated by the state government. Check with your utility for its net metering policy. 

Can solar panels save money?

Yes. Solar panels can save money on your utility bill and even make you money after the system's payback period, or how long it takes to see a return on investment. The payback period in Idaho for an 8-kilowatt system is estimated to take 25 years before factoring in tax credits and incentives. 

Faith Foushee CNET Contributor
Faith Foushee is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com, covering energy-efficient products, renewables and other energy topics. She enjoys learning about new energy technology and helping others save money. Faith graduated from High Point University with a bachelor's degree in strategic communication.
Faith Foushee
Faith Foushee is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com, covering energy-efficient products, renewables and other energy topics. She enjoys learning about new energy technology and helping others save money. Faith graduated from High Point University with a bachelor's degree in strategic communication.

Article updated on April 4, 2024 at 1:59 AM PDT

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Faith Foushee
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Faith Foushee CNET Contributor
Faith Foushee is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com, covering energy-efficient products, renewables and other energy topics. She enjoys learning about new energy technology and helping others save money. Faith graduated from High Point University with a bachelor's degree in strategic communication.
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