Homeowners across Iowa are switching to solar and saving upwards of $40,000! But how does that work in a state that sees cold winters with short days, overcast weather, and even snow?
The answer is solar and net metering. In Iowa, net metering allows homeowners to use the grid to create a bank of credits for their energy generation to draw on when the sun isn’t shining.
Below, we cover the top 3 things every homeowner considering solar should know about net metering.
#1: How Does Net Metering Work?
Net metering refers to both the policy that protects a homeowner’s right to receive compensation for their excess energy generation from solar, and the metered system that tracks how much energy a homeowner sends back onto the grid.
In Iowa, this policy applies to the area of the grid managed by Alliant or MidAmerican. The nitty gritty is that homeowners with solar who send energy back onto their local grid receive a 1-to-1 credit on their account. After a year, these credits can be cashed out at what is known as an avoided rate.
But how do you get those credits?
When a homeowner gets professionally designed and installed solar, they will inevitably make more energy than they need. This generally happens during the summer, when long daylight hours and strong sunlight have solar panels operating at their peak efficiency.
That extra energy has to have somewhere to go. With grid-tied solar, it’s sent back onto the grid and used to help power your community.
When you go solar, a second meter (the net meter) is installed to track that energy being sent back. The power company will use the amount tracked by your net meter to calculate the credits they owe you each month.
#2: Net Metering and Solar Help Homeowners Save More
Why would a homeowner choose to have their solar grid-tied, rather than installing a battery backup system?
There are two top reasons: saving on installation associated costs and saving more over time.
Depending on the kind of battery you purchase, and how much energy you want to store (emergency only, overnight, off-grid), a battery system can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
Batteries also generally won’t last as long as your solar panel array. You’ll need to replace those batteries once, twice, or possibly more based on the average 25 year life of a solar panel.
Installing a battery backup system to solar can easily double the cost.
Conversely, grid tied systems not only avoid these extra costs, but give homeowners a way to save more over time. With solar designed to meet your needs and wipe out your power bill, the longer you have solar the more you’ll see savings from generating your own power.
You’ll also see savings from being able to draw on banked net metering credits during stormy weather and overnight.
#3: Power Companies Hate Solar Net Metering
It’s not just California that is seeing homeowner’s rights to net metering attacked by greedy power companies.
In Iowa, Alliant and MidAmerican continue to try and reform net metering in their favor. Adding on additional service fees, and a required annual cash out that only pays the customer at a fractioned rate of what that energy was actually worth.
But why are they so hostile towards net metering? After all, net metered systems help to decrease the energy power companies have to generate, and help Iowa use more clean energy.
When homeowners have more control over their energy production, power companies have less control. Which means they have less wiggle room to force people to pay endless rate hikes.
The reality is that as home solar becomes more common, it has also changed the landscape of how people power their homes. Unlike in the past, people now have the power to decide how they get their energy.
Find Out How Much Solar Could Save You
Curious about making the switch to solar and saving with net metering?
Purelight Power has already helped hundreds of Iowa homeowners go solar simply with $0 down solar.