Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits and Solar Panel Incentives in Iowa; 2012 Update
The Iowa legislature does not seem very serious about kick starting the solar power industry in their state. There are incentives and rebates available but these seem to be aimed more at the top end of town rather than getting residential solar power systems installed.
Iowa's RPS or Renewable Portfolio Standard
Well Iowa does not have a RPS as such they do have a system that requires there two main Utilities to source 105mW (mega watts) of renewable energy.
Federal Tax Credit
The single most significant financial incentive for your solar power system in Iowa is the same Federal Tax Credit that applies right across the USA. This gives you a credit on your Federal Tax bill equivalent to 30% of the cost of your solar system For more information on this visit out page "The 30% federal tax credit for residential solar power systems" Because this is a tax credit you get the benefit of this when you do your next federal tax return, rather than getting a cheque on the day of installation. Still, it has a real value if you are in a position where you are paying annual federal income tax equivalent to 30% or more of the value of your solar panel system.
Iowa State Rebates
Iowa does have a few good incentives that are offered by the larger Utilities some examples follow. Alliant Energy has a program for customers that allow them to be rebated or paid at variable rates depending on the energy efficiency of your home. The top rate is $1.25 per kW/hr for your first years estimated production; you need to meet energy efficiency standards to qualify for this rate. Most will probably be on what they describe as the standard rate and this is worked out at .75c per kW/hr for your estimated first years production. Farmer's Electric Cooperative (Kalona) offers rebates for the installation of small wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to its member customers. A maximum rebate of $5,000 is available Rebates for both wind and solar systems require a site assessment and are subject to prior approval of metering and installation arrangements. Equipment must be new and permanently installed by a professional installer on the customer's premises. Total rebates are limited to $20,000 per year.
Ongoing Incentives for Solar Power in Iowa: Payment for your electricity you feed into the grid
In Iowa Farmers Electric Cooperative offers a production incentive to members that install qualifying wind and solar electricity generating systems. Qualifying grid-tied solar and wind energy systems are eligible for a $0.20 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) production incentive for up to 10 years for energy production that offsets up to 25% of monthly energy usage. The customer-generator purchases all of their electricity from the utility at the normal retail rate, and sells the entire output of their qualifying system (up to 25% of their own monthly consumption) to the utility. This arrangement requires two meters; one to measure the renewable energy system's production and one to measure the electricity used by the home or business. This system is a bit complicated so it might be a good idea to get in touch with local solar professionals that will know the state of play in your area, just click "here" it's free and easy and educational.
Net Metering means that your electricity provider will monitor how much power you consume from the grid and how much power you generate and send back to the grid. This can be achieved by the installation of a bio-directional meter that separately records what you buy from the grid and what you push back into the grid, or your current meter will move backwards or forwards depending on if you are buying or crediting electricity The amount of kilowatt hours you feed back into the grid is subtracted from the amount of kilowatt hours you have purchased from the grid in each billing period. So if you used 1000 kwh in a period and sent 300 kilowatt hours into the gird during the day when you weren't using much power at home, then your utility will only bill you for 700 kilowatt hours. Not all utilities give a 1:1 credit of kwh's. Some only give a fractional credit i.e 90%. In this case, on the example above, only 270 kwh would be credited to the customer bill even though they fed 300 kwh into the grid. Net metering is available to all customer classes of Iowa's two investor-owned utilities -- MidAmerican Energy and Interstate Power and Light (IPL). Although Iowa's net-metering subrule requires utilities to purchase customers' net excess generation (NEG) at the utility's avoided-cost rate, subsequent rule waivers allow MidAmerican Energy and IPL customers to carry NEG forward for use in future months as a kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit. The net metering kWh offset effectively provides a credit at the customer's retail electricity rate. So if you want to find out what's available to you why not get a few quotes, click "here".
Iowa State Tax Exemptions and State Tax Credits
Well there is a tax exemption available for solar and a totally separate one available for wind, seems as though wind power is getting a good run in Iowa. However there are many rules and restrictions particularly in relation to funding and the amount of eligible production available. Iowa is a great example of why it is easier to get educated about your local opportunities by professional solar installers from your area, fill out the form to make it happen. Property tax exemption applies to your property when you install a solar system, well for 5 years anyway.
Iowa Solar Incentives and investment case: Summary April 2012
Iowa are not as serious as many other states in relation to encouraging the take up of solar power. A real Renewable Standards Portfolio would go a long way towards kick starting better incentives. It seems wind power is the winner in Iowa So if you are still reading this and you really want to know the pro's and con's of going solar in Iowa just click "here " and make it happen. Remember, Warren Buffet's compound annual return on investment over 50 years is only around 20% and with a solar power system you are likely to exceed this within only 5-6 years. From then on the percentage return you get each year just goes up and up as power prices go up and up over the next 30 years