KC McGinnis | November 20, 2015
A loan program through Iowa State University’s Iowa Energy Center allowed a North Liberty family to install solar panels at their home, giving them a surplus of energy and slashing their monthly bill.
According to a report in the Iowa City Press-Citizen North Liberty residents Patrick and Michelle Hughes were able to afford the $31,000 addition of solar panels to their home through a combination of federal and state tax credits and a zero-interest loan from the Iowa Energy Center for 50 percent of the cost of the project. This means that the panels, which have already brought the Hughes family’s energy bills into the negatives (meaning they are actually receiving refunds from their energy company for putting in more energy than they use), should pay themselves off by 2022.
The Iowa Energy Center’s Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) allows any individual or business seeking to add a renewable energy source to receive 50 percent of the total cost of the project (up to $1 million) at a 0% interest rate. This includes installations of biomass, wind power, hydroelectric and solar facilities. While the program is based in Iowa, borrowers do not need to be Iowa citizens. The program helped fund nearly 200 facilities between 1996 and 2012 and continues to be a source of financial assistance for anyone looking to add renewable energy to their homes or businesses.