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Community or Home Solar in Iowa?

by | May 23, 2022

Want a way to avoid energy rate hikes, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money at the same time? 

Solar uses clean and renewable energy, all while saving money. 

If you’re curious about home solar or community solar in Iowa as a way to invest in clean energy, keep reading. 

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll go over the pros and cons of community solar and home solar to help you find the right fit for your home. 

Community Solar in Iowa

Community solar provides access for homeowners, renters, and businesses to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy. But how does it work?

Community solar provides a credit on your electricity bill for the power that is produced from a rented portion of a solar array.

For instance, the City of Ames is building their first community solar farm which will be 2 megawatts. Renters, businesses, and homeowners can then pay the city to receive a discount on their power bill for “renting” a few panels in the solar farm.

Solar without having to install anything at home sounds pretty nice. But we should also take a look at why community solar might not be the best fit for homeowners. 

Since you don’t have ownership of these solar panels, you’re renting them. And since you don’t actually own the panels, you can’t claim the 26% Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Community solar means you trade off not having to invest in your own system with losing out on valuable tax credits, and the value of your home won’t increase. 

If you want solar but can’t place a solar array on your property, then community solar is for you. 

For Iowans who are renters in their homes, and homeowners who live in mobile homes with no permanent foundation, community solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Next to an aerial photo of a house with solar panels on the roof is a black box. Inside the box we see the words "does your roof qualify for solar?" above a button that reads "learn more."

Home Solar in Iowa

Now let’s take a look at how home solar works. 

Rooftop solar is a bigger investment than community solar, which is often the main reason homeowners opt for community solar. But since you own your solar energy system the return of investment on rooftop solar is a lot better. 

With home solar, your home value increases, and you save every month with a locked in, lower flat payment that would never go up. 

Iowans with rooftop solar are also eligible to claim the Solar Investment Tax Credit that helps recoup 26% of installation costs. 

Plus, you get the perks of net metering. That’s the process where, when your system produces an excess amount of energy from those summer months the power company credits you for that extra energy. That helps during the winter months. You can dip into those credits to cover any extra energy you need to pull from the gird.

When purchasing solar, Iowan homeowners are exempt from sales tax on solar installation by 6% of the total cost as well!

As if it couldn’t get any better, the Purelight Power $0 down program maximizes your savings for an even bigger return on investment with solar.

How to Choose Community or Home Solar in Iowa

So what are some things to consider when deciding on the  best fit for you and your home? 

  1. Do you rent or own your home?

When deciding between community solar and rooftop solar one thing to consider is whether you own your home or not. For rooftop solar you do need to own your house. With community solar you can be a renter and just invest in some of the solar projects to be able to receive clean renewable energy. 

  1. Are you looking to sell soon?

Not looking to stay in your home for longer than the next year or so, but still wanting clean and renewable energy sources? Community solar could be the right fit for you because it’s mobile and you’re able to opt out any time.

However, if you’re planning to stay in your current home for the foreseeable future, rooftop solar is the better option for you. 

  1. How much control over your solar investment do you want?

With home solar, you own your investment. Which means you also have control over what happens, and see the full return on that investment. And in Iowa, because net metering is protected by the state, even power companies have to reimburse you for the energy you send back at a particular rate.

With community solar, because the solar array is owned by someone else, you don’t have a say over what happens with the project. That includes the rate you’re paid based on your subscription.

  1. What is your main reason for going solar?

If you are looking for a short term solution to reduce your carbon footprint, community solar is for you. But if you’re looking for  clean and renewable energy for the next 25 years, and added value to your home, then choose home solar. 

Make the Switch to Purelight!

Ready to make the switch to solar and save??

See if your roof qualifies for our $0 out of pocket program today!

With Purelight’s zero down program homeowners go solar for nothing out of pocket.

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