Solar power in Iowa

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Solar power in Iowa is in limited, with only 27 MW installed by 2015, ranking the state 29th among U.S. states.[1] Iowa's position as a major wind power provider may have limited early solar investment. Solar on rooftops can provide 20% of all electricity used in Iowa.[2] On June 7, 2012, Sky Factory in Fairfield became the first company in the state to generate all of their electricity from solar power, with the installation of a 54 kW 3500 sq. ft. solar array.[3][4][5] Prior to that one of the largest arrays was the 15.75 kW array on the Marshalltown Public Library.[6] An 800 kW array near Kalona was the largest in the state when it went online in July, 2014.[7]

Net metering is available continuously to all consumers generating up to 500 kW, one of the best policies in the country[8] but is given a B because of not being available to large, megawatt users.[9] A feed-in tariff is available for customers of the Farmers Electrical Cooperative for up to 25% of their electricity. It pays 20 cents/kWh for electricity generated, none of which can be directly used – a separate meter is required, in a parallel connection, making it a power purchase agreement, instead of a feed-in tariff.[10] The state of Iowa has proposed a feed-in tariff, in Senate bill SF 225. A separate rate applies for systems less than 20 kW and systems from 20 kW to less than 20 MW.[11][12]

In December 2011, Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a Berkshire Hathaway company, purchased the Topaz Solar Farm, which when completed, at 550 MW, was the largest in the world.[13][14]


Source: NREL[15]
Iowa Grid-Connected PV Capacity (MW)[16][17][18][19][20][21]
Year Capacity Change % Change
2010 <0.1
2011 0.1 <0.1
2012 1.2 1.1 1100%
2013 4.6 3.4 283%
2014 21 16.4 356%
2015 27 6 29%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iowa Fact Sheet, Solar Energy Industries Association, accessed May 19, 2016
  2. ^ Report Argues for a Decentralized System of Renewable Power Generation
  3. ^ Heartland business becomes the first entirely solar-powered company in Iowa
  4. ^ Fairfield business says solar power will make it “net zero”
  5. ^ Sky Factory Goes 100% Solar
  6. ^ Our Green Library
  7. ^ Kalona solar farm honored by international organization, Iowa City Press-Citizen, Nick Fetty, November 23, 2014
  8. ^ Iowa - Net Metering
  9. ^ Freeing the Grid
  10. ^ Farmers Electric Cooperative (Kalona) - Renewable Energy Purchase Rate
  11. ^ Iowa Considering Feed-in Tariffs
  12. ^ SF 225
  13. ^ First Solar Sells California Solar Farm to MidAmerican Energy Holdings
  14. ^ Topaz, the Largest Solar Plant in the World, Is Now Fully Operational
  15. ^ "PV Watts". NREL. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  17. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  18. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  19. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  20. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  21. ^ Iowa Solar

External links[edit]