Dems: Iowa’s solar industry is taking off

October 2, 2016
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Iowa’s solar industry is growing with the help of successful policies that create jobs, promote installation and expand businesses. Utilities are constructing solar energy systems, and homeowners and businesses are investing in solar to lower their utility bills.

 

As of 2015, Iowa had 29 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity—enough to power 3,000 homes—and 52 companies in the solar industry.

 

Enacted in 2012, Iowa’s solar tax incentive offsets up to 15 percent of the cost of a solar system for businesses and residences, and provides a 50 percent match to the federal tax incentive. Combined, the state and federal tax credits can cut the cost of a solar system by as much as 45 percent.

 

Because of the success and popularity of the program, the Legislature increased solar tax credits in 2015, which have helped finance the installation of solar systems in 92 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Residences qualify for up to $5,000 in tax incentives and businesses for up to $20,000.

 

We’ve also made available 20 MW of renewable energy production tax credits to promote utility owned solar facilities, and now allow rural cooperatives and municipal solar projects to increase the number of solar facilities they own.

 

Other state policies are also boosting solar energy in Iowa, including:

  • Net metering, which allows a solar system owner to sell electricity to their utility.
  • Third-party financing agreements that allow customers to lease solar equipment in exchange for the power generated by the system.

 

These policies help make solar energy systems viable options for homeowners, farmers and businesses that want clean, locally produced energy, while also boosting Iowa’s economy and creating good jobs.

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