Solar panel cost in Iowa

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Iowa is currently $11,238 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.53 per watt.

Solar prices near you

Cost range of local prices

$11,101-$13,567

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$46,215-$56,486

Payback period

5.8-7.1 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

5.6kW

Chart 1: Distribution curve of IA residential solar cost 2020
$12K
SolarReviews average

Note: Prices after 26% Federal Solar Tax Credit

IA solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 5.6kW system

Iowa solar power overview

Installing residential solar panels is a great investment for Iowa homeowners. Residents of the Hawkeye State can cover around 40% of the total cost of a solar panel installation, thanks to the state and federal tax credit.

Are solar panels worth it in Iowa

Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.

Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.

Levelized cost of solar energy
?
Levelized cost per kWh is the cost of the solar system divided by the total number of kWh produced by a solar system over it’s lifetime

5¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

21¢ /kWh

(forecast avg Iowa electric rates over the next 25 years)

Iowa solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses is the federal tax credit. Right now, the federal tax credit is equal to 26% of the total installed costs of installing a solar system. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will fall to 22%. This means that in order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in Iowa is now.

Iowa state tax credit

Iowa has a state solar tax credit equal to 50% of the amount of the federal tax credit a homeowner is eligible for up to $5,000. So, if your federal tax credit incentive was $5,000, your Iowa tax credit would be equal to $2,500.

Net metering

Iowa has a state-wide net metering policy, but it only applies to the state’s two investor owned utilities: MidAmerican and Alliant Interstate Power and Light. The investor owned utilities must credit their solar customers for the full retail value of electricity for any excess solar energy exported to the grid.

Property tax exemptions

Iowa has a property tax exemption for solar panel systems. Iowa law exempts 100% of the assessed solar system costs from being added to your property taxes for 5 years.

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit

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Top 10 solar panel brands installed in Iowa in 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Iowa by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $11,060 $11,834
5kW $13,240 $14,167
6kW $15,186 $16,249
7kW $17,528 $18,755
8kW $20,240 $21,657
9kW $22,050 $23,594
10kW $24,230 $25,926

Best solar companies in the main cities of Iowa

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Iowa

You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.

How long do solar panels last?

Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more

How do solar panels work on a home?

Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2020 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.

How do solar panels work?

Grid-tied solar system

Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter where the direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used by your home or exported to the electric grid.

Off-grid solar system

Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the power of the sun. There’s no utility to fall back on. This means the solar installation needs to power the home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well.

Read more about types of home solar systems.

Do solar panels require regular maintenance?

No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.

Will residential solar power system cost fall in Iowa in 2020?

Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in Iowa will fall during 2020.

Can you buy DIY Solar Panel Kits and install them yourself in Iowa?

Yes you can! In some cases, you can save $3,000 or more when you install solar yourself, even after receiving the federal tax credit. Despite the potential for savings, data from Lawrence Berkeley Labs shows that only about 3% of homeowners choose DIY solar. 

Reasons for this include:

  • The permitting and inspection process for the utility, the state, and municipalities can be quite complex.
  • The installation work is both dangerous and difficult, with electrical work having to be performed at heights.
  • Often times, solar electricity customers will be charged a premium for DIY installations, which can limit savings.
  • In some states, a solar system needs to be installed by a qualified solar contractor in order to take advantage of incentives. In Iowa, a contractor must have an electrical contractor's license in order to be considered qualified. Utilities and incentive programs may have additional requirements.

 

SolarReviews does not recommend DIY solar installations unless you have suitable skills. However, for those who do, SolarReviews published a comparison table displaying solar panel kit prices from the top 10 leading solar kit websites in the US.

Buy DIY solar panel kits online

Prices don’t include installation, permits or inspections

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Iowa?

Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 1310-degree pitch roof Iowa will generate 27kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in Iowa.

Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.

What are the pros and cons of installing solar panels in Iowa?

The biggest advantages in Iowa for installing solar panels is the state-based tax credit. This credit can be used in conjunction with the federal tax credit, providing major savings on system costs.

The disadvantage to installing solar panels in Iowa is that electricity prices in Iowa are low, so the payback time on the solar system will be longer here than payback periods for solar installed in other states. Also, aside from the state tax credit there is little in the way of other solar incentives or rebates available.

However, solar is still a great investment if you’re an Iowa homeowner. You’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t get solar while the state and federal tax credits were around.

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

What you can learn from our state solar panel calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Iowa solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.

Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.

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