Solar Industry Gets Boost in Iowa

July 22, 2014 By Karen Henry

solar-corn-energy-manageA divided Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Eagle Point Solar would not violate Iowa law by selling energy it generates through a solar panel installation on the roof of a city building to the city of Dubuque, according to an article in the Des Moines Register.

Solar industry leaders celebrated the victory, calling such power purchase arrangements (PPAs)  key to the growth of the solar industry in Iowa. According to a report issued by the Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa could supply about 20 percent of its energy needs through rooftop solar systems.

Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy said that power purchase agreements violate state regulations that give utility companies exclusive rights to sell energy in defined territories. Alliant and MidAmerican are Iowa’s main utility companies.

According to the article, state law allows power companies to act as monopolies because they have such large fixed costs, such as power plants and power lines. If the power companies lose out on this revenue, they will have to make up the costs elsewhere, which, they said, will likely translate into higher costs for consumers.

Environmentalists said that power purchase agreements such as this make solar installations much more cost effective for cities and residents.

Iowa is the 23rd state to allow power purchase agreements between customers and private companies that offer solar energy systems.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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