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Best 5 Solar Companies in Iowa City, IA

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Written By Max Peterson|Last Updated: February 05, 2024

Iowa City homeowners are lucky to live in plentiful sunlight, both to appreciate and use for energy. Local homeowners might consider solar to break free of high power costs from sources like wind. A knowledgeable solar installer can help you set up and tune a system that fulfills your energy needs without being too expensive. On this page, we'll show you Iowa City's top solar providers and give expert 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 Iowa City Solar Companies

Iowa Solar Pros Logo

Iowa Solar Pros

4.5/5
Based on 20 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Financing AssistanceCleaning And MaintenancePanel InstallationBattery Storage

Highlights

  • Free quotes
  • Reliable customer support
  • Clear pricing policy
2431 Coral Ct #1, Coralville, IA 319-929-0992 iowasolarpros.com
Purelight Power of Cedar Rapids Logo

Purelight Power of Cedar Rapids

4.6/5
Based on 142 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Grid-Tied Solar SystemPermit AssistanceConsultationPanel Installation

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
  • Clear pricing policy
1120 Depot Ln Se #100, Cedar Rapids, IA 319-382-7581 purelightpower.com
Prodigy Power Logo

Prodigy Power

4.4/5
Based on 52 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Panel InstallationPermit AssistanceConsultation

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Clear pricing policy
  • Free quotes
3289 Armar Dr, Marion, IA 800-871-6998 prodigypower.solar
ECG Solar Iowa Logo

ECG Solar Iowa

4.6/5
Based on 155 customer reviews.

Services Offered

ConsultationSkilled RepairsFinancing AssistanceBattery StoragePanel InstallationSystem DecommissioningOff-Grid Solar SystemsCleaning And Maintenance

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
  • Clear pricing policy
9663 230th Ave, Anamosa, IA 319-326-0922 ecgsolar.com

Ranking Methodology

Our team has researched dozens of solar companies near Iowa City, keeping in mind the following criteria:

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Facts about Iowa City
Average Max Temp:59°F
Solar Payback Period:10.6 years
Average Daily Sunlight:52%
Homes Powered by Solar:284
Average Annual Energy Bill:$1,176
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 provides multiple perks. Let's look at a few of them.

  • Better energy independence: Solar systems with energy storage operate through blackouts and emergencies, and you won't have to rely on your power company for your safety and comfort.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.
  • Lowered energy bills: Solar panels allow you to generate your own energy to power your home, decreasing your monthly electricity costs. Going off-grid can eliminate your bills completely.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Iowa City Homeowners?

Governments and utilities often incentivize homeowners for adopting solar. Here are some of the rebates, tax credits or other programs you could qualify for.

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: linncountyrec.com

Incentive Amount:

All Star Home (New Construction): $500/home
Premier Electric Home (New Construction): $200/home
Heat Pump Water Heater: $650/unit
High Efficiency Electric Water Heater: $75-$150/unit
Drain Water Heat Recovery Systems: $450/unit
Clothes Washer: $40/unit
Clothes Dryer: $20/unit
Interior Lighting: $5/fixture
Outdoor Lighting: $10-$60/fixture
Geothermal Heat Pump: $150-$400/ton
Air Source Heat Pump: $200-$300/ton plus $250 bonus
Central A/C: $100
Heat Recovery Ventilator: $250/unit

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: feckalona.net

Incentive Amount:

LED Lighting: $2/bulb
Security Yard Lights: $100
Geothermal Heat Pumps (New Construction): $350/ton
Geothermal Heat Pumps (Upgrade): $700/ton
Air Source Heat Pumps (New Construction): $400
Air Source Heat Pumps (Upgrade): $800
Central Air Conditioners: $200
Heat Pump Water Heaters: $400
Refrigerators: $50
Freezers: $50

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 Iowa City

The more informed your company investigation is, the better your solar panels will ultimately perform. 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. Look for private accreditations from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), one of the solar industry's most trusted trade groups. Its program includes certifications for both solar photovoltaic and water heating installers.

Cost of Solar Panels in Iowa City

Different solar panel types look and perform differently. Monocrystalline panels offer the best energy production but cost more than other options. Polycrystalline panels produce less power, but start at a more budget-friendly price point. Thin-film panels work well for small projects like RVs and sheds, but they're not ideal for larger installations due to their low performance.

You can also add electric vehicle (EV) chargers and battery backup systems. These will increase your total project price, but they can improve your solar system's performance. Not all solar contractors include these additional features, so look for a provider that installs them if it's crucial for you.

If you're a resident of Iowa City and are considering getting a five-kilowatt solar energy system, you could plan to spend about $20,050 for materials and labor. Find more information on specific component and panel costs in the table.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,104
Solar Polycrystalline$861
Thin-Film$504
Solar Battery$707
Solar Home EV Charger$2,650

Financing Solar Energy in Iowa City

Choosing the ideal financing solution will affect your overall solar system cost and potential savings. Common payment options include loans, power purchase agreements, cash payments, and leases. We recommend making a cash payment or securing a solar loan for the highest return on investment (ROI). Cash payments require a hefty sum up-front, but you’ll pay the least long-term by avoiding interest. You’ll also have full ownership of your system and can apply for solar incentives to minimize your total costs. Solar loans are another solid option if you don’t want to make a big initial investment. You can pay for your system in monthly installments while still benefiting from energy bill savings and solar incentives. However, you’ll spend more in total due to accruing interest. Solar leases allow you to use your panels for a set monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay just for the energy you use, much like 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 installers that offer two or more payment plans to find the right fit for your budget.

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

The IRS allows you to claim a 26% federal 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 Iowa City

How much energy and money could I save per year by switching to solar?

On average, Iowa City homeowners shell out around $1,176 per year on energy bills. Once you repay your solar array, you could save $892.89 for every kilowatt you produce.

Is solar energy readily available in Iowa City?

Yes, solar energy is readily available in Iowa City. A growing number of area homes generate or access solar power on-site or through utility grids, and Iowa has about 869 jobs forming its solar economy.

Will a solar PV system raise my Iowa City home worth?

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 can I assess my home's solar viability?

One common way to calculate your home's solar viability is by using PVWatts. This free, powerful tool considers local weather and topography, tree cover, panel efficiency, and system size to determine how much energy your array could generate. However, it's not a substitute for consulting with a local solar installation company, who can create a full estimate with the most updated data.

How long does the photovoltaic installation process last?

Your solar job's duration will depend on its complexity and size, as well as Iowa City's permit and inspection procedures. It could take a few weeks to a couple of months on average.

What's the average solar system size in Iowa City?

The average Iowa City solar system size is 9.6 kilowatts (kW). However, your final system size depends on your family's power consumption. 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 array size for your home.

What's the difference between a PPA and a solar lease?

Choosing a leasing option means your solar company will handle panel maintenance while you make fixed monthly payments. PPAs differ slightly because you pay based on the electricity you produce.

You don't own the panels with either option, though you can choose to "buy out" of the contract for a fee.

What's the difference between a PPA and traditional financing?

The main differences between a power purchase agreement and traditional financing are that you pay a fluctuating monthly rate based on your energy usage and don't own your system. Your service provider installs and maintains the panels, and you pay for the generated electricity for 10–25 years. Afterward, you can continue the contract or purchase the system outright.

You might think about a PPA if you don’t want to be responsible for maintenance and don’t want to invest in a system, but keep in mind you won’t be paying toward ownership or be able to access any solar financial incentives. Many solar experts don’t recommend PPAs. Our guide covers other financing options above.

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

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