A bill was introduced to the Iowa Legislature in January this year by Representative Dave Heaton to reduce the rate paid to solar customers. The bill would remove the requirement for state utility companies to pay retail prices to customers for excess solar generation. Instead, they would pay a much lower wholesale price. If the bill was implemented an extra five to six years would be added to the payback time for most customers. Representative Heaton is knowingly affiliated with ALEC which has as one of its priorities the weakening of net metering laws.
Solar advocates are in agreement that net metering is fundamental to the success of the industry. The bill cuts at the heart of solar as a renewable energy alternative.
Despite the introduction of the bill, the Iowa Utilities Board report is not considering any changes at this stage, but is open to an evaluation of the practice’s costs and benefits at a later date.
Also, the present Governor of Iowa is pro-solar and has supported other solar initiatives. But the bill is certainly not something to be dismissed given that similar bills have been passed successfully in other states and that ALEC is ever patient and will strike again.
I will be writing about the status of net metering in other states and Oklahoma in future posts.