It was not until 2014 that there was any significant solar panel installations in Iowa. To date, they have largely been in the residential and commercial sectors. However, starting in 2018, there are significant utility scale projects in the works. Iowa now has 96 installed megawatts of solar capacity. This is enough to power 10,000 homes and brings the state to a ranking of 39th nationwide.
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Here are some key numbers about the state’s solar activity to date;*
- About 21 megawatts of solar capacity was added in the state in 2018. This gave the it a ranking of 34th for that year.
- Iowa can boast having 64 solar companies, enabling the employment of approximately 844 people.
- The state invested $40 million into solar projects in 2018. The grand total invested to date now stands at $194 million.
- Prices for solar in the state have dropped 47 percent over the past 5 years.
Two notable solar projects in the state are the Dubuque and Strawberry Point installations, coming in at 3.8 and 1 megawatts, respectively. Dubuque can supply enough electricity for at least 450 homes.
The state has a renewable portfolio standard that goes back to 1983 and is named the “Alternative Energy Law.” Iowa was easily able to meet it’s original goal of 105 megawatts with its extensive amount of wind power. The law does not state anything in particular relating to solar power.**
Net metering allows for customers to be credited for their excess electricity at the retail rate in Iowa. System sizes are allowed to be as large as 500 kilowatts, essentially allowing for residential systems of any size.**
About 41 solar installers now operate in the state. They can be found in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Iowa City, Waterloo, Ames, Ankeny, Council Bluffs, and Dubuque to name a few. Iowa has a fair amount of installed solar from the residential sector and that trend should continue in the coming years.
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*Information and figures gathered from seia.org.
**Information and figures gathered from dsireusa.org.