The Iowa legislature has sent the governor a compromise bill on solar energy.
Last year, utilities sought permission to charge new fees to customers with solar panels on their homes or businesses. The bill now calls for studying the value of solar power starting in 2027 and establishes some alternative billing methods. Representative Gary Carlson, a Republican from Muscatine, says the compromise was developed by representatives of the state’s electric utilities, pork producers and the solar industry.
“It’s gratifying to see that the groups came together and have come with a solution that’s good not only for the growth of the solar industry and utilities, but for Iowans,” Carlson says.
Last year Republican Senator Michael Breitbach of Strawberry Point was the lead advocate for charging new fees to customers who tap into the electric power grid when their solar panels aren’t producing power. Breitbach says this year’s deal gives some certainty to solar customers.
“It also gives us a pathway forward on how the determintion will be on the value of solar,” he says.
Senator Eric Giddens, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, says solar power helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels for electricity.
“It will strengthen the solar industry in this state, make distributed solar installations more affordable for homeowners, businesses and farmers,” he says.
The bill passed the House unanimously Tuesday and the Senate passed it 48-to-zero this afternoon.