Solar Energy

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What is Solar Energy? 

Solar energy is energy provided by the sun. This energy is in the form of solar radiation, which makes the production of solar electricity possible.


Electricity can be produced directly from photovoltaic (PV) cells. These cells are made from materials which exhibit the “photovoltaic effect" – when sunshine hits the PV cell, the photons of light excite the electrons in the cell and cause them to flow, generating electricity.

Why Solar Energy?

• Solar energy advances the City’s Eco Smart goal to decrease its carbon footprint. 

• Solar energy is not only sustainable, it is renewable.

• Solar energy is silent. There is absolutely no noise made from photovoltaic panels as they convert sunlight into usable electricity.

• During operation, solar electricity power plants produce zero emissions.

Check out all of the residential and commercial solar sites in Ames, click here. 

Smart Energy now offers a rebate for the installation of photovoltaic systems.

Get a Photovoltaic Rebate form by clicking here. Roof with solar panels

Steps to Renewable Generation (Process Guide)

To view the guide, click here.

To view the Solar Interconnection Agreement, click here.

Anyone interested in installing a photovoltaic system will also need to work closely with Planning & Housing and Inspections. Here are links to information you will find helpful:

Planning & Housing



Electrical Permit Application

Building Permit Application

Because the City's photovoltaic program has the potential to change, it is recommended you contact the utility to ensure you are taking into account current rebate, metering, and excess energy payment information.

For technical help, call Lyndon Cook at 515-239-5174 or email
For rebate information call Steve Wilson at 515-239-5177 or email

Community Solar Update.

The City of Ames has undertaken a green energy and sustainability project to ensure any Ames electric customer wanting to take advantage of solar generated energy has the ability to do so via investment in a Community Solar Project.  An aggressive schedule has been established that will result in a 1.5 MW (megawatt) solar array designed, constructed, and placed into service by the end of 2017 or early 2018. 

Electric Services has hired Millennium Energy, LLC to assist in the the development of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design and installation of the array.  The RFP is expected to be let the first half of April.  The consultant also helped with siting the array, developing a community marketing strategy, and with rolling out the project implementation plan. 

There are two sites under consideration for the array.  The primary site is just north of the airport across Airport Road in a field west of Sam's Club.  This site must be evaluated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for construction in proximity of the airport and for glare.  Once the information specific to the array is forwarded to the FAA we expect to wait at least 60 days for their determination.

The secondary site is on a piece of land between the Ames Animal Shelter and Billy Sunday Road just south of Highway 30.  The land would require clearing and some fairly significant moving and leveling of earth. 

Once the site has been identified and the RFP awarded we will begin a public outreach effort to inform citizens of the sign up process and estimated investment costs.  It is hoped this will begin in May. 

If you are a vendor who would like to receive the RFP please contact the City of Ames Purchasing Department at 515-239-5125.

Look for updates here, or call Steve Wilson at 515-239-5177 or email




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