Solar power in Iowa is limited but growing, with 96 MW installed by the end of 2018 with 21 MW installed within the last year, ranking the state 39th among U.S. states. Iowa's position as a major wind power provider may have limited early solar investment. Over 12,000 Iowa homes are powered by solar energy, accounting for 0.17% of the state's total electricity production in 2019. Solar on rooftops can provide 20% of all electricity used in Iowa. 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. Prior to that one of the largest arrays was the 15.75 kW array on the Marshalltown Public Library. Currently, a 5 megawatt (MW) array near Dubuque is the largest in the state since its construction by Alliant Energy in September, 2017. Over the next 5 years 411 MW in additional capacity is projected, bringing the state to a possible 33rd place rank in the nation.
Net metering is available continuously to all consumers generating up to 500 kW, one of the best policies in the country but is given a B because of not being available to large, megawatt users. 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. 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.
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.
When you install a solar system, 26% of your project expenses apply toward a credit to offset any taxes you owe that year. This federal tax credit is a major incentive to go solar, but it is going to be phased out by 2024.
To be eligible to claim this credit, you must owe federal taxes.