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Solar energy

Solar energy is clean, increasingly affordable, and improves grid reliability and stability.

solar energy

As costs have come down dramatically in recent years, we have seen a wide range of solar projects and installations all across Iowa. Farms and rural businesses are leading solar adopters in rural areas like Washington County while successful community solar projects are operating in cities like Cedar Falls. Solar is also statewide. By the end of 2016, at least 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties had solar projects installed that benefited from Iowa’s upfront solar tax credit.

Solar energy has the potential to play a much more significant role in Iowa’s energy portfolio, and has been gaining momentum in recent years with growth in solar projects statewide. From 2014 to 2015, Iowa's distributed solar capacity grew 32 percent according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, placing it ahead of many Midwestern states including Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. At the end of 2016, Iowa had an estimated 45 MW of installed solar including distributed solar and utility solar.

While solar is growing in Iowa, it has yet to meet its full potential. Iowa ranks 16th in technical potential for solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production and has the potential to build over 4,000 GW (GW) of solar – enough to power half a billion homes annually and meet Iowa’s current electricity needs 150 times over. 

The Iowa Environmental Council advocates for policies that encourage responsible solar energy growth and development. We are committed to advancing policies that:

  • Maintain and expand the incentives available for farmers, businesses, residents, utilities and communities to own or invest in solar panels, including tax incentives, net metering, third party PPA financing, and utility rate incentives. 
  • Improving access to the grid with leading interconnection standards available to all Iowans. 

To learn more about solar energy in Iowa, visit our Energy Fact Sheets page and our Energy Publications page.


Join us in advocating for and supporting policies that encourage a transition to 100% clean energy, including solar.