In 2021, Wapello Solar started providing solar energy to power 16,605 Iowa homes. The commercial project was the first major shift toward solar panels in Iowa. Homeowners who make the switch can potentially earn back thousands of dollars on their utilities.
So, are solar arrays worth it in the Hawkeye State? In this article, we break down the average price of solar in Iowa and how to formulate a budget around them. We’ll also show you how to determine potential savings. Here’s all you need to know about Iowa solar costs.
Average Cost of Solar Panels in Iowa
Solar panel costs in Iowa fall on the lower end of the spectrum. Homeowners can expect to pay about $2.53/W for equipment. This works out to $15,180 for a typical 6kW system. Is that price reasonable? We’ll find the answer by comparing the average cost of solar to local utility payments.
Iowa homeowners typically use about 865kWh of power a month, slightly more than in other states. But with relatively affordable electricity rates, monthly bills only come to about $119.98. This is lower than the national average of $122/mo. Overall, the low cost of solar matches the low utility bill, making a switch a smart move.
Qualifying homeowners can receive 30% back on all purchases toward an array with the federal solar tax credit. Applied to a 6kW array, Iowans can watch the price drop from $15,180 to $10,626.
How Much Solar Do Iowans Need?
While the above figures give a rough idea of what Iowans might pay, it doesn’t help them figure out the right size array for their homes. To determine the appropriate wattage, divide your household’s typical daily power usage by the peak sun hours in your area. We’ll use Iowa’s numbers to explain.
Homeowners in the Hawkeye State often use about 28.8kWh a day (865kWh a month). When we divide this by the state’s average peak sunlight of 4.55 hours, we learn that we need our panels to produce 6.3kW an hour. For a system this size, homeowners in Iowa can expect to pay around $15,939 before incentives.
Now that you know how to find the right size solar panels in Iowa, you can get a more accurate budget. Check out the Iowa sun chart to find the average peak sun hours for your city.
Iowa Solar Cost Factors
One key factor determining the price of solar panels in Iowa is peak sun hours. Depending on location, this number can fluctuate. Situated in the middle of the country with no major geographic features, the Hawkeye State has pretty consistent sunlight. To get a better idea of how peak sun and location affect solar prices, compare Iowa to its neighboring states.
The right type of solar panels can help you save money on an installation in Iowa. Because of its flat geography and decent sunlight, Iowa typically requires polycrystalline equipment, which is less efficient but affordable. However, if you have limited roof space, you might consider monocrystalline to cover your power usage with fewer panels.
It’s crucial to choose a solar installer carefully. You might be tempted to go with the cheaper installer as they might offer fewer services to undercut the competition. With less than 40 installers in Hawkeye State, you’ll have an easier time picking a solar installation company.
Best Solar Installers in Iowa
If you’re looking for the best company to install solar panels in Iowa, EnergySage might be a good starting place. The solar review company has endorsements from the Solar Energy Industries Association and the US Department of Energy, making their judgments valuable. EnergySage has a strict screening process, which includes
- Years of industry experience
- Quality equipment and warranties
- Proper licenses and certifications
- Contractor transparency
Another local installer you should seriously consider is The Solar Guys. This family-owned business has over 10 years of industry experience. With an office in Ankeny, these guys know the Hawkeye State like the back of their hand. While they don’t mention having a NABCEP certification, they work with the highest quality equipment and offer a 25-year workmanship warranty.
If you’re looking for a reputable company, you can’t go wrong with All Energy Solar. This national installer serves Midwestern and the Northeastern US. While the company’s workmanship warranty falls short of The Solar Guys, they have all the proper certifications and BBB accreditations.
Can Solar Energy Save Iowans Money?
With decent rates on solar panels in Iowa and reasonable sunlight, homeowners are in a position to see pretty good returns on utility bills. Iowans typically $1,439.76 a year on electricity, enough to cover the cost of a 6kW system in 10.5 years. While slightly higher than in some states, it’s a reasonable time to pay off an array.
After your solar panel system is paid off, you’ll see money back in your pocket. The average lifespan of an Iowan array is 20-25 years. Homeowners could earn $13,678 to $20,877 from utility offsets. Iowans can be happy about a solid return, even with lower-than-average utility bills.
How to Save Money in Iowa: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives
People often look for federal, state, and municipal incentives to slash installation costs. While Iowa’s renewable standards focus on wind power, there are few other opportunities to save on solar in Iowa. The federal tax credit on its own can lower the cost of a 6kW array by about $4,500.
The Hawkeye State also provides some state-level benefits. While municipalities don’t have much motivation to offer rebates, Iowa makes it easier to purchase an array with tax exemptions, credits, and more.
Solar Panels in Iowa: Further Reading
Investing in solar panels in Iowa makes sense, thanks to decent sunlight and an affordable rate on equipment. While the Hawkeye State doesn’t offer much support, homeowners can save on their utilities. For more on emerging technology in Iowa, check out these articles.
- Solar Panels in California: Cost, Savings, and Rebates – Find out how Hawkeye State compares to some progressive states in renewable energy.
- Owning an EV in Iowa: Charging Cost, Incentives, and More – It might be easier to afford an electric vehicle in Iowa than you think.
- 10 Largest Solar Panel Companies in the World, and What They Do – Discover the companies building panels that make the infrastructure underpinning modern renewable energy systems.
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