Though Iowa is well suited for solar power, only a small amount of its power currently comes from solar. However, under the Mandatory Utility Green Power Option, utility providers are required to offer green options to consumers. This, along with the reasonable cost of solar, could help improve Iowa’s use of the resource. Find resources on how moving to solar can save you money through incentives.

Iowa’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

Electricity Costs in Iowa

The cost of electricity in Iowa is quite favorable for the residential consumer but not as much so for the commercial user. The average residential user spends $.13/kWh on electric power, which is above the national average. And rates have increased substantially in recent years. The majority of Iowa’s energy resources currently come from wind power, second only to Texas.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Iowa Resources
and Further Reading

Iowa Solar Policies & Incentives

Though Iowa does not have strong incentive programs for solar energy use, it does promote renewable and efficient energy programs. However, because utilities are reluctant to allow third-party ownership, power purchase agreements and zero-down leases are not allowed in the state. However, there are some bright spots. There are a total of 86 available programs including loans, metering programs, grants and policies from the federal, state and local levels that impact the costs and use of solar energy in Iowa. It also has an online system where residents can apply for and track the progress of tax credit applications. Read on to find out about the solar incentives available in Iowa.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program

Low-interest loans are available to individuals and organizations to help fund renewable energy installations, including solar photovoltaic systems, within Iowa. Loans start at 0 percent interest rate up to $1,000,000.

None for residential specifically

IADG Energy Bank Revolving Loan Program

Businesses may be eligible for low-interest financing from the Iowa Economic Development Group for renewable energy projects, including solar photovoltaic systems.

POLICIES

Solar Easements

Iowa’s property code allows for access to sunlight for operating a solar energy system and also grants municipalities the right to stop homeowners associations from limiting solar collection systems. Easements may be entered into voluntarily or through the local municipality.

Interconnection Standards

The Iowa Utility Board oversees and sets the rates for the state’s utilities. Interconnection requests fall into four levels, based on size and usage. All facilities are required to show proof of liability insurance and utilities have the discretion to require a manual disconnect device.

Net Metering

Although not required by law, Iowa’s two investor-owned utilities offer net metering for individual systems up to 500 kW. Net excess generation can be carried forward for use in subsequent months. Customers are not allowed to cash out excess credits.

None specific to commercial

TAX CREDITS

Solar Energy System Tax Credit

Once an installation is complete, solar system owners may apply for a tax credit of up to $5,000 or 50 percent of the federal tax credit for energy efficient property. The state caps solar credits at $5 million each year.

None for residential specifically

Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit

Tax credits are available to electricity producers in the amount of $0.015 per kWh for solar photovoltaic systems.

EXEMPTIONS

Renewable Energy Equipment Exemption

Sales of solar energy equipment that is used to collect and convert sunlight into energy or that transform the energy to a point of use, such as solar photovoltaic panels and inverters, are exempt from Iowa state sales tax, currently 6 percent.

Property Tax Exemption

The market value added to a home or business because of solar photovoltaics is exempt from property taxes for five full years after a system is installed. Eligible systems use or store electricity generated on site.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

Solar Contractors & Installers in Iowa

All Energy Solar

All Energy Solar handles initial assessment to design and engineering, to construction, installation and monitoring.

Where it operatesIowa City, IA,

Year of opening2009

CB Solar

CB is a turnkey solar contractor staffed entirely by engineers from Iowa State University. Services include site analysis and engineering, solar system design, installation and maintenance.

Where it operatesDes Moines, IA

Year of opening2013

Ecowise Power

Ecowise specializes in residential, agricultural and commercial solar energy systems. Its role is to partner with other solar providers in the community and advise the consumer on the process including suggesting vendors for them to work with.

Where it operatesDes Moines, IA

Year of opening2013

Greenlight Renewable Resources, LLC

With more than 25 years of electrical and 20 years of construction experience, Greenlight is a specialist in photovoltaic (PV) systems and panels. They provide services in solar system design, installation and follow-up.

Where it operatesDes Moines, IA

Year of opening2011

GWA International

GWA designs and installs solar systems to the highest quality standards and energy efficiencies. They have over 25 years of experience in project management for energy projects.

Where it operatesDes Moines, IA

Year of opening2005

Ideal Energy Solar

Ideal Energy Solar provides comprehensive solar services, designing and installing solar systems. Ideal Energy can take on veteran-owned small business contracts.

Where it operatesFairfield, IA

Year of opening2009

Iowa Wind and Solar

Iowa Wind and Solar offers installation of renewable energy systems including solar water heaters, wind turbines and photovoltaic solar panels.

Where it operatesFairfield, IA

Year of opening2002

Moxie Solar Services

This public company offers complete solar systems for business and residential. Moxie takes the customer from solar evaluation to initiation and financing to installation and maintenance.

Where it operatesIowa City, Iowa and Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Year of opening2014

SolarFX

SolarFX recently formed as a sister company to Lasco Construction in order to supply the Midwest with complete assessment to maintenance solar services.

Where it operatesAmes, IA

Year of opening2007

Iowa Solar Panel Resources

If you are looking for more information on solar industries and the benefits of going solar, check out these sites.

Benefits.gov Energy Assistance

This site lists all the state programs that assist consumers in paying for solar or renewable energy residential systems. This includes the Iowa LIHEAP or Iowa Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

DSIRE – Iowa Profile

Find out more about the incentives available to those going solar in the State of Iowa.

Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Community Action Agencies, Bureau of Weatherization, Weatherization Assistance Program

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is located in Des Moines and offers weatherization programs to low income and refugee settlers throughout Iowa. These programs may include a new solar heating system.

Iowa Economic Development Authority, Energy Office

The mission of this group is to provide opportunities for economic development through the development of solar and other renewable energy system in both commercial and residential markets.

Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association

This professional organization helps to promote the highest standards in safety, quality and standards for the solar industry and its consumers.

National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

This group of state officials meets routinely throughout the country to review the current ideas and technology in the solar energy market. They have been meeting together to plan energy programs and discuss their energy needs since 1986.