- Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill last week increasing solar incentives in the state, boosting by 10 MW the amount of power which can qualify for a 1.5 cents/kWh production tax credit. 63 MW of solar statewide may now apply for the credits.
- But the credit will only apply to individual solar arrays with less than 1.5 MW of capacity, leaving some to question whether investor-owned utilities will take advantage.
- Midwest Energy News reports smaller groups appear more interested in the incentives, including municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives.
The legislation, signed last week along with four other bills, raises the amount of solar production eligible for tax credits from 53 MW to 63 MW, but the state's largest utilities may ignore the expanded inventives for now. Because of the small size of the allowed solar arrays, rural and community providers are more likely to take advantage.
A MidAmerican spokesperson told Midwest Energy News “at this time, it is unclear if the legislation will have a significant impact on our company or our plans, given the fact that it is geared toward projects of 1.5 MW or less.”
Joel Logan, director of energy services for the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, told MEN “I’ve heard more about community solar projects being developed, but non-community projects are under development too."
The legislation was pushed by Iowa state Sen. Rob Hogg, an advocate for clean energy and who said the state is trying to get utilities to develop more solar. He published a guest column in the Iowa Daily Democrat calling for more wind and solar power, energy efficient buildings and fuel efficient and electric vehicles in his state.
“Although Congress is moving backward on many of these issues, we have national policies that work, too, like the wind energy tax credit, the solar tax credit, the EPA’s proposed clean power rules, and other policies that would put a price on carbon pollution,” Hogg wrote.