How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Panels for Des Moines Residents
If you’re looking to cut your monthly energy bills in half while decreasing your environmental impact, adding solar power to your home could be a great option for you. With an average 204 sunny days a year, Des Moines is an ideal location to adopt solar power. Additionally, with the rapidly decreasing cost of solar technology, combined with federal and state tax credits, your new solar technology system may also be very budget friendly.
Will My Solar Panels Stand Up to Des Moines Weather?
Yes. Des Moines average 30 inches of rain a year, but UV rays can still get through to your panels, and the rain might actually make your panels work more effectively, as it helps clean the surface, allowing more UV rays to be absorbed. In terms of cloudy days, research has shown that the impact on your solar panels is nominal—maybe a 5-10% decrease in effectiveness.
In terms of snowfall, Des Moines averages 31 inches of snowfall a year, slightly higher than the national average. Your solar panels can still work with slight snow cover, and in fact snow on your roof and the ground can help better reflect UV rays to make your system work more effectively. If your panels are completely covered in snow though, your system won’t work and you’ll need to rely on the energy provided by your utility company, batteries, or a backup generator. Typically, as the weather warms, snow will melt and easily fall off of the panels which are typically slanted. If the weather stays cold for a long time, you may want to get a roof rake to remove heavy snow from your panels so that they work better, and to relieve them of heavy weight. Consider hiring a professional to do this as it is dangerous to work on your roof during slick conditions.
Are There Financial Incentives to Adopt Solar Technology in Des Moines?
While Iowa does have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) encouraging the use of energy generated by renewable resources across the state, with 27% of the state’s energy provided by wind power, the RPS has been considered effectively met for years. The RPS has no solar carve out, so there’s no real motivation for utilities to provide incentives for their customers to adopt solar technology. While installing a solar technology system can help you save up to 50% on your monthly utility bills, on average, the systems take about 5-6 years to pay for themselves. Thankfully, there are good federal and state tax credits to help decrease the financial impact from your initial investment.
Solar Energy System Tax Credits: For residential solar installations, the application for the credit cannot be made until the installation of the solar energy system is complete. To request a Solar Energy System Tax credit, you are required to complete an application. The application or amended application requesting an award must be received by May 1 following the year of the installation of the solar energy system or the award request will be denied. Qualifying installations must meet the federal residential energy efficient property credit related to solar energy provided in sections 25D(a)(1) and 25D(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code. Installations that occur after January 1, 2016 are equal to 50% of the federal credit up to $5,000.
The credits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis until the $5 million cap is reached each year. If the Iowa Department of Revenue receives applications for tax credit awards in excess of the $5 million available in a year, the applications will be prioritized by the date and time your completed application is successfully submitted. To create a completed application, you must have electronic copies of the following required documents:
1) the invoice or other document showing the cost of the system
2) a copy of the utility completion sheet in addition for a business application-documentation or letter to verify the dated placed in service
3) tax credit applicant certification (provided during the application process)
Although you have the option to save a partially completed application and return to finish it later, a saved application is NOT considered submitted. Failure to submit the application by May 1 following the installation year will result in a denial of the application. However, submission of a completed application at any time before the due date does not guarantee that you will be awarded a Solar Energy System Tax Credit. At present, only $216,071 in tax credits have been distributed in Iowa, but additional applications may be awaiting review.
Federal Tax Credit for Solar Energy: To encourage Americans to use solar power, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy offer tax credits for solar-powered systems. If you install Energy Star approved solar power systems before the end of 2019, you can claim 30 percent of the cost as a tax credit for the year you installed it. After December 31, 2019 the credit will decrease each year.
As a credit, you take the amount directly off your tax payment, rather than as a deduction from your taxable income. You can claim the credit for your primary residence, a vacation home, and for either an existing structure or new construction. Other than the cost of the system, there’s no limit to the dollar amount of the credit.
To claim the credit, you must file IRS Form 5695 as part of your tax return; you calculate the credit on the form, and then enter the result on your 1040. If you end up with a bigger credit than you have income tax due–a $3,000 credit on a $2,500 tax bill, for instance — you can’t use the credit to get money back from the IRS. Instead, you can carry the credit over to the following tax year.