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Best 5 Solar Companies in Ames, IA

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Written By Max Peterson|Last Updated: April 18, 2024

Ames homeowners are increasingly using solar panels to produce their electricity and heat their water. With all the options to choose from in this vibrant community, you might feel overwhelmed searching for a good provider. On this page, we'll show you Ames' best solar companies and provide insightful advice for your solar journey.

Best High-Efficiency System
4.8
  • Builds custom, high-efficiency solar systems suited to each home
  • Extensive coverage area throughout the country
  • Offers energy storage and EV charger add-ons

Top Ames Solar Companies

Purelight Power Logo

Purelight Power

4.4/5
Based on 32 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Permit AssistancePanel InstallationGrid-Tied Solar SystemConsultation

Highlights

  • Free quotes
  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
4707 Se Rio Ct Suite 107, Ankeny, IA 515-461-6445 purelightpower.com
Purelight Power of Des Moines Logo

Purelight Power of Des Moines

5/5
Based on 748 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Permit AssistanceConsultationGrid-Tied Solar SystemPanel Installation

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Free quotes
  • Informative resources
4673 121st St, Urbandale, IA 515-420-0035 purelightpower.com
CB Solar Inc. Logo

CB Solar

4.5/5
Based on 26 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Panel InstallationFinancing Assistance

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Clear pricing policy
  • Free quotes
5425 Lower Beaver Rd, Des Moines, IA 515-331-4200 cbsolarinc.com
Walter Roofing Logo

Walter Roofing

4.7/5
Based on 218 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Panel InstallationFinancing AssistanceCleaning And MaintenanceSkilled Repairs

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Clear pricing policy
  • Free quotes
8450 Hickman Rd Ste 27, Clive, IA 515-343-6955 walterbuilds.com

Ranking Methodology

We analyzed a multitude of Ames solar installers, using the following criteria to choose the superior:

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Facts about Ames
Average Max Temp:58°F
Solar Payback Period:10.6 years
Average Daily Sunlight:53%
Homes Powered by Solar:248
Average Annual Energy Bill:$1,458
Solar Power per Capita Percentile:48.0%

Expert Tips By

This Old House empowers homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle various projects and navigate the complexities of homeownership.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy has multiple advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.

  • Better energy independence: Adding a battery backup or storage system lets you have dependable energy during storms and grid outages.
  • Lower energy bills: Sourcing some or all of your own power will cut power costs long-term. Plus, some states offer net metering programs that allow you to sell your surplus energy back to the grid, generating extra credits toward your energy bill.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power reduces your dependence on conventional, less environmentally-friendly sources.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Ames Homeowners?

Iowa homeowners who upgrade to solar could qualify for special financing, tax credits, reimbursements and rebates. Here are just a few of the area's incentive offerings.

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

100% of value added by renewable system

Incentive Type: Sales Tax Incentive

Website: tax.iowa.gov

Incentive Amount:

100% of sales tax

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: tax.iowa.gov

Incentive Amount:

50% of Federal ITC (15% for 2019 and earlier, 13% for 2020, 11% for 2021, 5% for 2022, 0% for 2023 and later).

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: state.ia.us

Incentive Amount:

Property valued at 0% of the net acquisition cost in the first assessment year, increasing annually by 5 percentage points to a maximum of 30% of the net acquisition cost in the 7th and succeeding years

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: iowa.gov

Incentive Amount:

100% exemption for 10 years

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: tax.iowa.gov

Incentive Amount:

20% of the Federal Tax Credit, equivalent to 6% of the system cost

Incentive Type: Corporate Tax Exemption

Website: tax.iowa.gov

Incentive Amount:

100% exemption for self-generators, landfill gas and wind
Reduced rate for large hydro

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: alliantenergy.com

Incentive Amount:

Advanced Power Strips: up to $20
Air Source Heat Pump: $300-$800 for existing homes, $180-$480 for new homes
Appliance Recycling: up to $50
Central A/C: $150-$600 for existing homes, $90-$360 for new homes
Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump: Varies
Electric Heat Pump Water Heater: $300-$350 for existing homes, $180-$210 for new homes
Electric HVAC System Tune-Up: up to $50
Gas Furnace: $180 for existing homes, $80 for new homes
Geothermal Heat Pump: $1,320-$1,750 for existing homes, $790-$1,050 for new homes
Learning Thermostat: $100 for existing homes, $60 for new homes
LED Light Bulbs: In-Store Rebates
Online Home Energy Assessment: FREE
Room Air Purifier: up to $30
Variable Speed Pool Pumps: up to $220

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: cityofames.org

Incentive Amount:

Energy Star New Home: $250
Energy Audit: FREE
LED Lighting: 20% of cost
Refrigerators: $25 - $75
Dishwashers: $25
Clothes Washing Machines: $50
Electric Dryer: $50
Dehumidifier: $25
Air Conditioner: Varies by technology
Solar Photovoltaics: $300/kW

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: ecowatch.com

Incentive Amount:

30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Ames

The cost and performance of solar panels often rely on which company mounted them. Make your choice based on the following important considerations.

Licensing and Training

In Iowa, anyone making at least $2,000 annually from non-DIY electrical or solar energy work is a contractor and must pursue licensure from the Division of Labor. To install solar PV systems, a company will need a journeymens' or electrical contractors' license. Solar installers can also earn accreditations from trade groups and standards organizations. The most prestigious ones in the industry come from the NABCEP. Most company websites will prominently display earned credentials, but you should also ask your estimator for more information.

Cost of Solar Panels in Ames

The kind of solar panels you purchase decides how much electricity you can produce. Monocrystalline panels and high-quality and cost more but give you the best performance. Polycrystalline panels work with a tried-and-true mechanism and cost less, but produce less power. Thin-film panels aren't recommended for large residential installations, but they are ideal for small projects like converting RVs and sheds.

You can also add electric car (EV) chargers and battery backup systems. These will increase your total installation cost, but they can boost your solar system's efficiency. Not every solar company includes these add-ons, so look for a company that installs them if it's essential for you.

Most Ames homeowners choose solar systems rated for five kilowatts (kW) of electrical capacity. These systems cost about $20,050 to set up, considering both materials and labor. You can see more specific solar cost information in the table.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,099
Solar Polycrystalline$857
Thin-Film$501
Solar Battery$703
Solar Home EV Charger$2,637

Financing Solar Energy in Ames

Solar contractors use multiple different financing options to increase your savings and lower your costs. Though some providers offer unique payment plans, the most common are cash payments, power purchase agreements (PPAs), solar loans and solar leases. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most cost-effective choice because it qualifies you for solar incentives and doesn't accrue interest. Solar loans are the next best option. As with a car loan or mortgage, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for cost-saving solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases let you rent your panels for a fixed monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay just for the energy you use, akin to an electric bill. Both options disqualify you for solar incentives and do not provide you system ownership. Solar experts generally don't recommend them, but they might be suitable in some cases. Look for companies that offer multiple payment plans to find the right fit for your wallet.

The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Ames.

The IRS allows you to claim a 26% federal solar tax credit on the full cost of the solar system, so long as you purchase it before 2032. Municipal authorities and utilities might also offer their own financing programs, incentives, and rebates that could save you more money.

Solar System CapacityEstimated Payback period
1 kW2.1 years
2 kW4.3 years
5 kW10.6 years
10 kW21.3 years

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Ames

How much money could I save by going solar in Ames?

Most Ames homeowners spend about $1,458 on energy each year. Your costs could drop by $1,011.92 for each kilowatt you generate after you pay off a solar array.

How common is solar energy in Ames?

Yes, solar energy is becoming increasingly popular in Ames. Some homes already use solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're backed by a state solar economy with 869 jobs and counting.

Should I expect a property value increase after installing solar panels?

Yes, new solar systems translate to higher property values according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL.) Homeowners could project a $20 property value increase for each dollar they save on energy. Therefore, $600 in energy savings could boost your property value by $12,000.

How long is a Ames solar panel's average lifespan?

Modern solar systems are built to last. The average panel is good for 25 years of service. Lower-cost panels tend to have shorter lifespans than premium models.

What size should my new Ames solar system be?

The average Ames solar system size is 9.6 kilowatts (kW). However, your final system size depends on your household's electricity usage. Your surrounding shading, panel model, and roof size could also impact your final result. A professional solar contractor will consider these factors and determine the right system size for your home.

How long does it take to pay back a solar loan in Ames?

The average payback period for a solar loan in Ames is 13.9 years. By paying off extra principal each month, you can shorten the payback period and own your system faster.

How can I boost my solar array's performance?

To enhance your solar system's performance, you can use the following steps:
  • optimize the panels' position with your solar installer
  • regularly clean your solar panels
  • upgrade to a more efficient inverter trim or cut down trees in the way of your panels
  • use energy-efficient appliances

What are some "red flags" to watch for as I research companies?

Even the most respected Ames solar companies will have both glowing and negative reviews. To make the most informed selection possible, focus on these warning signs to know if a company isn't worth your time:
  • Pushy sales approach
  • Being evasive about training and credentials, cost, references and warranties
  • Inflexible options
  • Superficial, rushed site evaluation
  • Limited customer feedback

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Sources