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MidAmerican Energy supports all forms of renewable energy, including solar. We continue to explore ways to diversify energy production while keeping prices affordable for our customers.
Iowa leads the nation in wind energy because policymakers set the stage for it and made sure we could harness the wind’s clean power at no additional cost to our customers. Now Iowa has that same opportunity with solar energy.
With the right policies in place, Iowa can build on its renewable leadership with more choices for consumers and more investment in solar energy.
Currently, costs of building, operating and maintaining the electric grid are recovered through a monthly energy charge. Customers who own solar and generate their own energy don’t pay as much – or any – energy charge. This means they don’t pay for their use of the electric grid. Instead, other customers who don’t have their own solar pay for these costs.
The solar energy industry projects continued growth of private generation in Iowa, expanding the cost shift will also expand and likely resulting in future increased grid costs for non-solar customers.
Additionally, solar owners use the electric grid in more ways than those without solar – but avoid paying for it. That’s because while most customers simply draw energy from the grid, private solar owners require grid access that’s akin to a two-way street – their energy moves in both directions. When they over-produce energy, they ship it out to the grid and vice versa.
Customer Generation Grid infographic
The SOLAR Act -- The SOLAR Act is legislation proposed in the Iowa Legislature to fix the shifting of costs to low- and fixed-income customers that occurs today – creating a policy that is fair for all customers.
MidAmerican Energy is proud to serve private generators, most of whom are using the grid all but about 40 seconds of an average day, either using or sending energy. Solar customers are not off the grid, so it’s reasonable to expect all customers to equitably share the costs of maintaining the grid.
The legislation is designed to offer private generation customers additional options for paying for the grid that they use.
The proposed legislation would not affect federal, state or local tax subsidies that solar customers currently receive. Those existing subsidies cover at least half of the cost of a typical residential solar installation. Additionally, the bill does not eliminate net metering. With net metering, a residential private generation customer is billed only for the net electricity used, or the difference between the electricity produced and electricity supplied by the utility. Under the proposed legislation, net metering is one of a menu of billing options solar customers could choose.
MidAmerican Energy supports the SOLAR Act because it creates customer fairness, which sets the stage for solar energy to be the next chapter in Iowa’s renewable energy leadership.