New Fees Possible For Future Solar Energy Customers

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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.

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