Take action to support solar for Iowans




Encourage the Iowa Utilities Board to reverse a new net metering tariff which limits financial viability of solar in Iowa

Step 1:
Sign Solar Net Metering Tariff petition to IUB

What’s Happening?

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) recently accepted a proposed rule change from Alliant Energy, one of Iowa’s two major electric utility providers. This new ruling will drastically change how net metering works in Alliant’s service territory and will reduce the financial viability of new solar installations for both residential and smaller commercial customers. Alliant Energy’s new tariff takes effect on April 1st of this year and will impact Alliant’s 488,000 electrical customers across Iowa.

All signatures on this petition will be uploaded to the Iowa Utility Board’s electronic filing system, Docket No. TF-2016-0321. If you wish to file your own comment on this issue with the IUB, use the electronic filing system, Docket No. TF-2016-0321.

Ask the Iowa Utilities Board to support net metering for solar energy

I am outraged by the Board’s acceptance of the proposed rule change to net metering from Alliant Energy, which damages the distributed generation solar industry in Iowa. I urge you to reverse course on this ruling immediately.

This ruling is a direct contradiction of the Board’s request for Iowa’s utilities to develop net metering pilot projects “for the purpose of expanding renewable distributed generation (DG) in Iowa.” I understood the Board’s aim was to clarify Iowa’s net metering rules and encourage development of more solar and wind projects. The accepted proposal from Alliant Energy does just the opposite. It makes the choice to go solar harder for homeowners and businesses.

Following Alliant’s new rules, industry calculations show that the change will reduce net metering available by 62% for Residential customers and by 68% for General Service customers looking to produce their power from solar energy. It is my opinion that this decision robs Iowans of their rights to energy independence and the ability to choose clean energy, hurts Iowa’s economy, and takes money out of the pockets of Iowa’s families and businesses.

According to a report released in January 2017 by the US Department of Energy more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined, representing 43% of the electrical power generation workforce. Iowa is missing a valuable opportunity to add jobs in the strongest energy sector in the United States. Additionally, the Board’s ruling directly goes against the mission of Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Energy Plan to “Support distributed renewable energy generation including wind, solar, and other clean energy resources in Iowa.”

This ruling is not in the best interest of Iowa’s families and businesses. I urge you to support Iowa’s rich history as a leader in the clean energy economy and continue to create opportunities to grow the economy with distributed solar energy generation.

I am outraged by the Board’s acceptance of the proposed rule change to net metering from Alliant Energy, which damages the distributed generation solar industry in Iowa. I urge you to reverse course on this ruling immediately.

This ruling is a direct contradiction of the Board’s request for Iowa’s utilities to develop net metering pilot projects “for the purpose of expanding renewable distributed generation (DG) in Iowa.” I understood the Board’s aim was to clarify Iowa’s net metering rules and encourage development of more solar and wind projects. The accepted proposal from Alliant Energy does just the opposite. It makes the choice to go solar harder for homeowners and businesses.

Following Alliant’s new rules, industry calculations show that the change will reduce net metering available by 62% for Residential customers and by 68% for General Service customers looking to produce their power from solar energy. It is my opinion that this decision robs Iowans of their rights to energy independence and the ability to choose clean energy, hurts Iowa’s economy, and takes money out of the pockets of Iowa’s families and businesses.

According to a report released in January 2017 by the US Department of Energy more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined, representing 43% of the electrical power generation workforce. Iowa is missing a valuable opportunity to add jobs in the strongest energy sector in the United States.
Additionally, the Board’s ruling directly goes against the mission of Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Energy Plan to “Support distributed renewable energy generation including wind, solar, and other clean energy resources in Iowa.”

This ruling is not in the best interest of Iowa’s families and businesses. I urge you to support Iowa’s rich history as a leader in the clean energy economy and continue to create opportunities to grow the economy with distributed solar energy generation.

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Step 2:
Contact the Governor’s Office

We urge Iowans concerned about their rights and our economy to contact the Iowa Governor’s office and ask them to honor the mission of Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Energy Plan to “Support distributed renewable energy generation including wind, solar, and other clean energy resources in Iowa.”

You may register an opinion with the Governor in one of three ways: using an online form, by phone, or by snail mail.

We’ve streamlined the process with templates you can copy & paste on the Governor’s online opinion form, use as talking points for a phone call, or download, print, and mail via USPS to the State Capitol.

Option 1: Register an opinion online

To file an opinion online, simply copy, paste and edit (if you wish) the text in the letter below into the message body of the online form.

COPY & PASTE: Letter to the Office of the Governor of Iowa

Dear Governor Branstad & Lt. Governor Reynolds,

I am deeply concerned that Alliant Energy is undermining Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Energy Plan’s mission to “Support distributed renewable energy generation including wind, solar, and other clean energy resources in Iowa.”

The Iowa Utilities Board’s (IUB) recent acceptance of Alliant Energy’s proposed rule change to net metering damages the distributed generation solar industry in Iowa. It is my opinion that this decision robs Iowans of their rights to energy independence and the ability to choose clean energy, hurts Iowa’s economy, and takes money out of the pockets of Iowa’s families, farmers, and businesses.

Following Alliant’s new rules, industry calculations show that the change could reduce net metering availability by 62% for Residential customers and by 68% for General Service customers looking to produce their power from solar energy. This would be devastating to Iowa’s solar industry.

This ruling is a direct contradiction of our state’s legacy of support for distributed generation renewable energy, which began in 1983 with Senate File 380 “Alternative Energy Producing Facilities and Research.” The Iowa Energy Plan is a continuation of this legacy. It encourage the development of more distributed generation solar and wind.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s January 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas, and oil energy combined. Solar generation accounts for 43% of the electrical power generation workforce. The solar generation industry created almost 74,000 jobs since the previous report. Iowa would be missing a valuable opportunity to add jobs in the strongest energy sector in the United States.

Alliant Energy’s net metering rule change is not in the best interest of Iowa’s families, farmers, and businesses. I urge you to support Iowa’s rich history as a leader in the clean energy economy and continue to create opportunities to grow the economy with distributed solar energy generation.

Option 2: Register an opinion with a phone call

Use the talking points below to register your opinion via phone call.

515-281-5211

Talking Points
  • The Iowa Utilities Board’s ruling directly goes against the mission of Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Energy Plan to “Support distributed renewable energy generation including wind, solar, and other clean energy resources in Iowa.”
  • Industry calculations are showing that the change will reduce net metering available by 62% for residential customers and by 68% for small customers looking to produce their power from solar energy.
  • I believe that this decision robs Iowans of their rights to energy independence and the ability to choose clean energy, hurts Iowa’s economy, and takes money out of the pockets of Iowa’s families and businesses.
  • With this ruling, Iowa is limiting a valuable opportunity to add jobs in the strongest energy sector in the United States. According to a report released in January 2017 by the US Department of Energy more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined, representing 43% of the electrical power generation workforce.
  • The IUB’S ruling is a direct contradiction of the Board’s request for Iowa’s utilities to develop net metering pilot projects “for the purpose of expanding renewable distributed generation (DG) in Iowa.” The accepted proposal from Alliant Energy does just the opposite. It makes the choice to go solar harder for homeowners and businesses.
  • Please support Iowa’s rich history as a leader in the clean energy economy and continue to create opportunities to grow the economy with distributed solar energy generation.

Option 3: Register an opinion via snail mail

Download the letter below and mail directly to the Gov.’s office.

1007 E. Grand Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Learn more about the issue



The Tariff’s Impact

Alliant Energy’s new net metering tariff add a cap on how much solar generation is eligible for net metering. Under current rules, net metering is naturally capped by a customer’s total annual energy usage – how many kilowatt (kWh) of electricity are used in a year.

Under the new, more complex tariff, net metering will be capped based on an arbitrary estimate of a customer’s annual peak demand the year prior to the solar installation.

Industry calculations show that the new ruling could reduce available net metering by 62% for residential customers and by 68% for small business customers. Solar installations larger than the cap won’t make financial sense.

This is an extraordinarily complex and opaque system – among the most complicated in the nation. We believe this ruling could end residential solar in Iowa, dramatically curtail small business solar, and severely damage the solar industry.

Current solar net metering tariff
Under the current rules a typical Iowa household using about 12,000 kWh of electricity per year could purchase a 10 kW solar installation that would save the family $1560 in the first year and pay for itself completely within 10-11 years. The design lifecycle of solar is 25 years.

Possible outcome for new solar net metering tariff
Under the new tariff, only 3.43 kW of the same 10 kW installation would be eligible for net-metering, and would save the same family only $979 per year and take 18-19 years to pay for itself. The design lifecycle of solar is 25 years.

Who’s Supporting the Cause?

On February 23, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association, Solar Energy Industry Association, Sierra Club, Vote Solar and Winneshiek Energy District made a filing asking the IUB to reconsider Alliant’s changes. The Iowa Utilities Board has 30 days to respond.

The Iowa Utilities Board needs to hear from the public too, so if you’re concerned, please weigh in on the matter.

Solar Energy Provides Economic Impact for Iowa

The Iowa solar industry employs more than 600 people, and supports jobs throughout the supply chain and manufacturing industries in Iowa. Iowa is home to more than 40 solar energy companies, and at least nine facilities involved in the manufacturing of solar parts.

In the past four years alone, $123,248,595 has been invested in solar using the Iowa solar investment tax credit. By the end of 2016, 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties have seen solar investment utilizing the solar investment tax credit. The proposed Alliant change would harm this important industry that is growing Iowa’s economy.

Glossary of Terms

What is Net Metering?

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. On average, only 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output ever goes into the grid. Exported solar electricity serves nearby customers’ loads.

Source: SEIA

What is Peak Demand?

Demand charges are typically used for commercial utility customers. Demand charges are based on maximum electrical demand over time. If electricity were water, demand charges would be based on the size of the pipe, not on how much water flows through it. High demand charges, particularly those calculated over periods of months or years, significantly undermine the economics of commercial solar systems.

Source: SEIA

What is Distributed Generation?

Distributed generation (DG) refers to electricity that is produced at or near the point where it is used. Distributed solar energy can be located on rooftops or ground-mounted, and is typically connected to the local utility distribution grid. States, cities and towns are experimenting with policies to encourage distributed solar to offset peak electricity demand and stabilize the local grid.
Source: SEIA

What is the Iowa Utilities Board?

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) is a public commission that regulates power, water, and telecommunications in Iowa. The three members of the board are appointed to six year terms by the Governor.

What is the Alliant Energy?

Alliant Energy is the public utility holding company of Interstate Power and Light, one of the utilities in the state of Iowa. Most Iowans get their electricity from Interstate Power and Light, MidAmerican, or one of the rural electric cooperatives. Most solar installations in the state until now have been among Alliant Energy customers.

What is the Iowa Energy Plan?

The Iowa Energy Plan was an initiative set forth by Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds in 2016 to lay the ground work necessary to reaffirm Iowa’s energy leadership into the future, collaborating locally, growing sustainably, and leading nationally.

A total of 15 objectives and 45 strategies make up the Iowa Energy Plan. Together, these objectives and strategies propose a balanced approach to encourage growth in all of Iowa’s energy sectors while emphasizing sustainable practices, economic development throughout the state, and supporting the research and development required to keep Iowa on the leading edge of energy innovation.

Source: Iowa Energy Plan

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