Before investing in a residential solar power system, experts say Idaho homeowners should consider energy-efficient upgrades. But is that really necessary?
Given the falling costs of residential solar installation, embracing energy efficiency isn’t a must. You don’t need to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle to benefit from the power of the sun, as a PV system can generate plenty of free electricity for your household use regardless of whether you make any energy-saving efforts.
However, just because you can plan a residential solar project without giving any consideration to energy efficiency doesn’t mean you should. Going a little green before going solar can lead to substantial savings – and making your Idaho home more efficient doesn’t require much money, time or work. Read on to learn more.
Solar Power System Size Is Based on Energy Needs
When drawing up plans for a residential solar array, professional contractors look to household energy consumption. The more electricity used, the more solar panels are included in the design – whatever number is needed to produce a sufficient amount of power for the home.
So, regardless of how much electricity you currently use, a PV system can meet your needs. You certainly don’t have to boost the energy efficiency of your Idaho home before you go solar, but you may want to give the matter serious thought.
Saving Energy Means Saving Money on Solar Installation
If you can take steps to reduce your household energy consumption, a PV system with fewer solar panels should be capable of generating enough electricity to power your Idaho home. The smaller the residential solar array you install, the less the project will cost – and the lower the cost, the faster you’ll recoup your initial investment.
Making your home more efficient pays off in the long run, but what about the upfront expense? Does springing for energy upgrades really make sense? Actually, yes.
Research has shown that every dollar spent on home efficiency translates to savings of between $3 and $5 on the purchase of a PV system. So, if you put $1,000 into measures that bring down your energy consumption, you can see savings of up to $5,000 on residential solar installation. And, going green may even make you eligible for financial incentives.
Increase Your Solar Power Savings with Tax Incentives
As you may already know, owners of residential solar power systems anywhere in the country can claim the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) – which, for projects started in 2023, amounts to 30 percent of the PV system costs. But, being a homeowner in Idaho provides you with other opportunities for savings on solar installation.
Idaho has two impressive state-level financial incentives:
- Residential Alternative Energy Tax Deduction – Homeowners who go solar can deduct 40 percent of the costs in the first year and 20 percent for the following three years, with a maximum of $5,000 each year and a total deduction of $20,000.
- Income Tax Deduction for Energy Efficiency Upgrades – Idaho residents who own homes built before 2002 who make approved energy upgrades, such as adding insulation, duct sealing or installing storm windows, can deduct 100 percent of the cost.
Taking advantage of these incentives doesn’t affect eligibility for the federal ITC. But since these types of programs can change at any time – and other tax credits, deductions and adjustments related to residential solar installation may become available — it’s a good idea to verify the information above by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy’s Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).
In addition, if Idaho Power is your energy company, you can benefit from a range of rebate incentives for installing energy-saving equipment. For instance, the rebate for a heat pump is up to $1,000, and the incentive for duct sealing is $350. DSIRE has the specifics, or you can always visit the utility company website to learn more about the rebate program.
Reduce Your Energy Consumption to Save on Solar Installation
Saving energy in the home helps minimize the cost of a residential solar project, and you don’t need to make sweeping changes or spend much money to see the effects. Even simple steps, like installing energy-efficient light bulbs and weather stripping around your doors and windows, can make a big difference.
For guidance in figuring out which energy improvements make the most sense before residential solar installation, contact your utility company for a professional home audit. Or, try the Home Energy Saver (HES) online audit tool, created by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – after you answer a few easy questions, you’ll see a list of personalized recommendations for reducing your energy consumption.
The professional team at Nationwide Solar is committed to helping Idaho homeowners maximize their savings with residential solar installation. Switching to photovoltaic power is easy and affordable with us, and whether or not you make any energy upgrades, we can design a PV system that meets your household electricity needs.