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There are many different technologies used to capture solar energy for consumption.  Solar electricity or photovoltaic’s (PV) can be used by anyone with a need for electric power. Solar heating collectors absorb the sun’s energy and produce heat. These systems heat a fluid, either air or liquid. This fluid then is used to heat directly or indirectly indoor spaces, water for household use, swimming pools, or to make electricity. The use of solar heating or thermal systems is growing in Idaho but is still not widespread even though they are usually cost effective.

The largest use of solar energy in Idaho is solar electricity, particularly to provide electricity in remote locations. In locations where extending a power line to a site can be prohibitively expensive, a PV system is often the least cost solution. There are hundreds of such installations throughout Idaho providing electricity to homes, ranches, farms, and many other facilities that are not served by electric utility power lines. Idahoans can use PV power in any number of ways. All around Idaho PV systems are providing power for remote-facility electrification, lighting, communications, monitoring, warning signs, water pumping and cathodic protection. People using PV are the biggest supporters and the best sales people for this technology.  Solar energy potential for Idaho can be found on the Department of Energy web site.

Utility-scale solar power generation in Idaho began in August 2016 and produced 0.2 percent of the total power generated in Idaho that year. Solar generation increased in 2017, producing about 3 percent of Idaho’s in-state electrical generation.  The amount of solar generation is expected to increase[1]

The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources offers low interest energy loans to Idaho citizens and businesses who are interested in solar development.

Investor-Owned Utilities

Company Location Contact Name Phone Number
Avista Corporation Spokane Tom Lienhard 509-495-4985
Idaho Power Company Boise Net Metering Inquiries 208-388-2559
Pacificorp Portland Jim Haberman 503-813-5000

Rural Electric Cooperatives

Company Location Contact Name Phone Number
Clearwater Power Company Lewiston Bob Pierce 208-798-5203
East End Mutual Electric Rupert Greer Copeland 208-436-9357
Fall River Rural Electric Ashton Mickie Funke 208-652-7431
Farmers Electric Company Rupert Gary Buerkle 208-436-6384
Idaho County Light and Power Grangeville Jake Eimers 208-983-1610
Kootenai Electric Cooperative Hayden Lake Robert Crump 208-765-1200
Lost River Electric Cooperative Mackay Richard Reynolds 208-588-3311
Lower Valley Energy Afton, WY Jim Webb 307-886-3175
Northern Lights Incorporated Sagle John Shelby 208-263-5141
Raft River Electric Cooperative Malta Chad Black 208-645-2211
Riverside Electric Cooperative Rupert Ken Stephens 208-436-3855
Salmon River Electric Cooperative Challis Ken Dizes 208.879.2283
South Side Electric Declo Val Derrington 208-654-2313
United Electric Co-Op Inc. Rupert Don Dean 208-679-2222
Vigilante Electric Cooperative Dillon, MT Dave Albert 406-683-2327

Municipal Electric Utilities

Company Location Contact Name Phone Number
Albion Light and Water Plan Albion Donald Danner 208-673-5351
Bonners Ferry Light and Water Bonners Ferry Michael Woodward 208-267-3105
Burley Municipal Distribution System Burley Donald Hill 208-678-2538
Declo Municipal Electric Department Declo Andy Anderson 208-654-2124
Dubois Electric System Dubois Cleo Cheney 208-678-8158
Idaho Falls Electric Light Division Idaho Falls Van Ashton 208-529-1430
Minidoka Electric Department Minidoka Maxine Homer 208-531-4101
Plummer Electric Department Plummer John Hines 208-686-1422
Rupert Electric Department Rupert Steven Eckles 208-436-9600
Soda Springs Electric Light & Power Soda Springs Blake Poulsen 208-547-2600
Weiser Water & Light Department Weiser Nathan Marvin 208-549-1965

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) periodically schedules national solar PV and hot water heater installer certification exams. The website includes an exam study guide; for detailed information regarding qualifications visit NABCEP.

The Idaho Division of Building Safety (DBS) safeguard the citizens of Idaho through responsible administration of building and construction-related safety and licensure standards while promoting a positive business climate. For detailed information regarding solar installations, contact the Idaho Division of Building Safety.