Solar Panel Cost Guide in Ames, IA (Feb 2023)

  • Ames Solar Installation Cost: $18,576
  • 25-Year Savings: $29,884
  • Payback Period: 9.6 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

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We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Ames

Let's take a look at the average cost of solar in Ames.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in Ames, the typical cost of solar panels is $3 per watt. Because a 9.6-kW system is needed to cover the energy needs of a typical home in Ames, the average price of going solar will be about $18,576 before claiming the federal solar tax credit of 30%.

Keep in mind that the figures above are only estimates based on the average energy use of Ames homeowners. The price of a solar system for your home may be different depending on factors unique to you, like your household energy use and solar contractor. Many homeowners find adopting solar power is a solid investment. The average homeowner in Ames can save about $19,000 on their power bills over 20 years.

You can click the button below to get connected with a pre-vetted solar installer in Ames that can help you get a more accurate cost estimate for your home.

Solar savings over time in Ames

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-16,637
3 years $-12,760
5 years $-8,884
7 years $-5,007
9 years $-1,130
11 years $2,747
13 years $6,624
15 years $10,500
17 years $14,377
19 years $18,254
21 years $22,131
23 years $26,008
25 years $29,884

Top Solar Installers in Ames

Many homeowners choose to use a solar installation company since installing solar panels by yourself can be a lot of work. Companies can also provide access to various kinds of the best solar panels and help you decide which one will be best for you.

There are a number of licensed solar professionals that can help you install your solar panels. Here are our suggestions:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Warranty Coverage

Sunpro Solar

★★★★★
4.0

  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area
  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs

See all of the solar companies in Ames

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Ames

There are a number of criteria that can influence your total installation cost, such as the size of your system, the equipment you choose, your financing options and the specific company that installs your solar panels.

Solar Equipment

When it comes to estimating the cost of a solar panel system in Ames, one of the most important factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are mainly based on your home's energy usage, which you can determine by looking at past electricity bills. Your overall cost can increase by around $2,770 for each additional kilowatt you need. There are many different solar panel brands and the one you choose also changes the cost. Generally speaking, the brands that offer higher efficiency tend to also cost more. In addition, the type of equipment you're looking to get can affect your total cost. If you just need panels, your system will be much less expensive than if you also need solar batteries or an electric vehicle charger.

Solar Financing Terms

For some homeowners, paying for solar out of pocket can be financially overwhelming. Solar loans are available from most installers in Ames, which can reduce, or in some cases completely eliminate, your upfront costs to make solar more accessible. Even though solar loans make adopting solar energy more accessible for Ames homeowners, they can also add to the total you pay for your system, depending on your interest rate and how long you take to pay off the loan. If you put down a larger down payment, though, you can avoid paying as much in interest.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The final major cost factor you should keep in mind is the installer you choose. Given the booming popularity of clean energy solutions in Ames, you'll have a great number of options to choose from, but each comes at varying price points for labor and equipment. Larger national companies generally have lower costs, but some local companies undercut them by promoting sales and discounts. While the smaller companies might not have specific equipment options like Tesla Powerwall batteries or add-on services like electric vehicle charger installation, they might be cheaper overall.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.88 $12,099 $18,258 10.0 years
8 kW $2.83 $15,822 $24,655 9.8 years
10 kW $2.77 $19,390 $31,206 9.6 years
12 kW $2.71 $22,803 $37,913 9.4 years
14 kW $2.66 $26,060 $44,774 9.2 years
16 kW $2.60 $29,163 $51,791 9.0 years
18 kW $2.55 $32,110 $58,963 8.8 years
20 kW $2.49 $34,902 $66,290 8.6 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are a large number of companies to choose from in Ames, and some homeowners feel overwhelmed considering their options. Picking the right company for you can be difficult, so here are some tips to help you decide:

  • Installation Process: When making the switch to solar power, it's essential to keep an open line of communication with your solar company. Confirm that you understand how the installation process will go and the completion timeline.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies have different brands and kinds of panels. If you know you want a specific brand, make sure the solar installer you're considering has it.
  • Contract: When reading over your solar company's contract, ask for clarification about any terms you're not sure of and make sure you understand what happens in scenarios such as a system component breaking or the company going out of business.
  • Reputation: Solar panel companies that have great reviews from their customers and that have been operating for many years likely offer high-quality solar panel installation and expertise.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Warranty Coverage

Sunpro Solar

★★★★★
4.0

  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area
  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs

EcoWatch's Ames, IA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Ames?

The average cost of solar panels in Ames is about $13,850 for a 5-kW system and $27,700 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on certain factors such as the model of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you consume.

Can you get solar panels for free in Ames?

You can't get solar panels for free in Ames. However, you may still be able to get them on a lower budget. You can lease solar panels for a low upfront cost or, if you want to own your solar panels, you can finance them with a solar loan.

How much can I save on electricity bills after switching to solar?

Solar panels can potentially eliminate your electricity bills depending on your location and the efficiency of your system. Even if it doesn't get rid of them completely, you can save a lot of money on your bills, about $1,011.92 per year.

How long do solar panels last in Ames?

On average, the lifespan of solar panels is about 25 to 30 years. Some even last up to 50 years, but their efficiency goes down by about 0.8% each year. You can choose to replace them sooner if you want to maintain a larger amount of energy production.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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