- Alliant Energy, one of Iowa’s dominant electricity suppliers, reversed its earlier stance and consented to provide net energy metering (NEM) for third party-owned solar arrays that the Iowa city of Cresco is considering on three city-owned buildings.
- After the Iowa Supreme Court last year upheld the legality of third party ownership (TPO) for renewables, Alliant informed institutional customers and Eagle Point Solar, which brought the case decided by the Supreme Court, that it would not agree to the terms of Iowa’s NEM policy for TPO-financed installations.
- Alliant’s reversal follows Eagle point’s filing of a complaint with the Iowa Utilities Board when the installer was forced to downsize planned installations for the Iowa city of Asbury in part because of the utility's stance. This change in Alliant practice will allow institutions without tax liability like schools, hospitals, local governments, and non-profits to access TPO funds, pass along the tax benefits, and have the benefits of solar.
In rejecting retail rate remuneration for solar energy-generated electricity sent to its grid from arrays proposed by the City of Ashbury, Alliant argued TPO financing made the third party a seller of electricity in violation of a privilege reserved for Iowa utilities. It also argued Iowa Utilities Board rulings limit NEM to customers who buy all their power from the utilities whereas customers in TPO arrangements buy part of their electricity from the third party.
The Asbury TPO installation was Eagle Point’s first since the Supreme Court decision. Original plans called for two arrays — one 230 kW system for city hall, and one 356 kW facility to supply 90% of the power for the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Alliant’s refusal to net meter the facilities pushed the city to abandon the larger array.
MidAmerican Energy, the other dominant electricity provider in Iowa, has also refused to net meter TPO-financed solar installations.