Iowa solar panels: The complete guide in 2024

Data updated Jun 11, 2024

Written by: Emily Walker

Interested in going solar? You'll need to install a 12.6 kW solar panel system to cover the average electric bill in Iowa, which will cost you about $27,274 after the federal tax credit.

Cost for an average system in Iowa

Out of pocket cost, cash
Federal tax credit (30%)
- $11,689
Price post tax credit

20-year savings $18,498
Payback period 13 Years
Electricity offset 91%
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As long as your federal tax bill is high enough, you can take advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

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Going solar in Iowa

While Caitlin Clark has stolen the spotlight with her dazzling basketball skills, Iowa still shines brightly as a prime candidate for solar panels. Iowans interested in going solar can benefit from the federal solar tax credit, tax exemptions, and solar buyback programs.

Here's what you need to know about installing solar panels in the Hawkeye State.


How much do solar panels cost in Iowa?

Solar panels will save you a lot of money over time, but the upfront costs aren't cheap. The average Iowa homeowner needs a 12.6 kW solar panel system to cover their electricity needs, which comes out to $38,963 before incentives. Prices range from $33,119 to $44,807, but after the federal tax credit, that drops by 30%. 

While this may sound high, solar panels are often worth it in Iowa—especially if you want to lower your carbon footprint. That's why over 5,700 Iowa homeowners have used EnergySage to receive and compare quotes for solar installations. You can expect to earn back your initial solar investment through electricity savings in about 13.03 years, while most systems last at least 25 years. You'll often see this number referenced as your solar payback period.

There are a few ways to finance your solar panel system so you don't have to provide all that money upfront. 

  • Cash purchase: You'll own the system and pay for it upfront. This provides the best long-term savings. 

  • Solar loan: Allows you to retain ownership of your system, while owing little to no money upfront. Solar loans aren't all created equal: If you have access to subsidized clean energy loans through local incentive programs, that's usually your best bet. A home equity loan or a personal loan are often your next best options––private solar loans typically come with higher interest rates or upfront fees.

  • Solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA): A third-party company owns your system and either leases you the solar panels (solar lease) or allows you to purchase the electricity they generate (PPA). These generally provide the lowest savings and generate the most negative press about solar. If you choose this financing option, read the fine print: You can get trapped in them for longer than you'd like.

Solar panels on a house


What are the best solar rebates and incentives in Iowa?

The federal solar tax credit reduces the cost of installing your solar energy system by 30%–and Iowa also offers sales and property tax exemptions for solar panel systems, which can help you save thousands.

Average savings in Iowa

Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)


Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

Iowa solar sales tax exemption

6% savings on the cost of equipment

You don't need to pay any sales tax on new solar panel systems in Iowa.

Iowa solar property tax exemption

The average property tax in Iowa is 1.5%

You’re exempt from paying property taxes on the increased value of your home for 5 years.

Is net metering available in Iowa?

In some states, you'll earn bill credits from your utility company when your solar panel system generates excess electricity and sends it to the grid. This incentive is known as net metering—basically a solar buyback program—and makes it so you will owe very little, or even nothing, on your electric bills with solar panels.

Some of Iowa's utilities offer net metering, including Alliant Energy (aka Interstate Power and Light). MidAmerican Energy, however, calculates its buybacks differently. Instead of awarding energy credits for each kWh of excess solar, it offers dollar-based bill credits.

The rest of the state’s electric cooperatives and municipal utilities aren’t required to offer residents a net metering option, although many do.

A house with rooftop solar panels connected to the grid


Equipment quality

Each year, solar panels get more and more efficient—that is, they produce more power per square foot. As of 2024, the most popular solar panels can produce about 400 watts of electricity when they’re in full sunlight. If you want to make the most of your roof’s solar potential, get panels with at least that much power output.  

You should also make sure to select a solar inverter setup that makes sense for your roof’s layout. 

And if you want or need a solar battery, be sure to pick one that can integrate cleanly with that inverter. 

Premium equipment can come with a high price tag, but it will often save you more money in the long run. The best equipment tends to have the best warranty terms, often guaranteed to 25 years (sometimes even 40!), so you’re covered in case you need repairs or replacements. The highest-quality panels also degrade more slowly, so they’ll maintain more of their power output further into the future. 

See our list of the best solar panels


Who are the best solar installers in Iowa?

We pre-screen all of the solar companies on EnergySage to ensure they'll provide you with a high-quality installation. We then rate them based on their results, reputation, and responsiveness. Here are the highest-rated EnergySage installers in Iowa:


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