DES MOINES, Iowa — Prospective solar energy customers could face new fees, and experts say it could delay a return on investment.
Jeff Tegrotenhuis’ solar panels cost about $8,000 to install. He saves about $50 a month. That’s about a 15 year return on his investment.
Tegrotenhuis’ current solar energy system is grandfathered in, but under a statehouse proposal, future solar customers won’t. The bill allows energy companies to charge solar users about $27 a month to use the energy grid.
“It’s a fairness issue because if you use the grid then you should take part in the safety and maintenance of the grid,” Tina Hoffman with MidAmerican Energy said.
1 Source Solar in Ankeny fears the bill could impact business.
“It’ll make our clients return on initial investment at least double,” said Todd Miller of 1 Source Solar.
The latest numbers from the Solar Energy Industries Association show nearly 4,000 solar panels were installed last year.
“We do about 60 to 70 residential installs a year. In total, 150 installations a year,” Miller said. “That number would at least be cut in half, if not more”.
Regardless of what happens at the statehouse, Miller hopes people see the value in solar energy.