Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Iowa | The Renewable Energy Hub USA

Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Iowa


With 27% of its electricity derived from wind turbines, Iowa is making ground in the renewable technology stakes and offers a range of incentives for the uptake relevant technology. Iowa was actually the first state to impose a renewable portfolio standard on their main utility companies when it introduced the Alternative Energy Production law in 1983. This required utilities to provide 105 MW of generating capacity from renewables.

By far the biggest renewable energy influence in the state is wind which accounts for a significant percentage of energy output compared to many other regions of the US. By the end of 2015 Iowa was producing in excess of 2,000 GWh, the industry helped by generous tax breaks that has caused it to thrive where it has often struggled in the surrounding states.

In contrast, Iowa has a fairly small solar industry with just 45 companies employing under a thousand staff. The capacity was 15 MW of which a third was residential and two thirds commercial. While $42 million was invested in the industry in 2014, the state still lies well down the ratings for solar at 31st in the US.

Solar PV Incentives in Iowa

While there aren’t the large incentives that other states have, solar PV does benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and also the state Sales Tax Incentive. Commercial and residential concerns can also apply for various low cost loans and grants including the Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program which can lend up to a maximum of $1 million and has payback times of 20 years. In Iowa more emphasis has been put on renewable technologies such as wind and geothermal rather than solar but this may well change in the future as their portfolio develops.

Solar PV Case Study in Iowa

While there is no actual state rebate, installing solar PV in Iowa can still yield a reasonably good return on investment. A 5 kW array should cost about $21,250 and be subject to the 30% reduction because of the Federal Tax Rebate. Their 18% tax credit can, however, also bring the price down significantly which means that you should expect to pay off any loan or start getting a ROI within 13 years. This could yield, over the 25 years the array is in operation, a profit in excess of $18,000 which is one of the highest in the region. The installation should also add to your home sale value to the tune of $15,000.

Solar Thermal Incentives in Iowa

Solar thermal used to heat water is becoming popular in Iowa as a way to keep heating bills down. It has all the incentives available for solar PV and applying these can reduce the cost significantly. Solar thermal also benefits from the Corn Belt Power Cooperative Rebate Program all of which makes it a well incentivized renewable technology.

Small Hydro Incentives in Iowa

While Iowa is leading the way in biofuels and wind generation, hydroelectric may also be on their list of high value renewable technologies. The state has great resources for promoting both large scale and micro hydro which could see further development in the future. Hydroelectric receives a few incentives apart from the Federal Tax Rebate, including the Energy Replacement Generation Tax Exemption with a reduced rate for large hydro.

Geothermal Incentives in Iowa

Ground source heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular in many states, particularly for those properties that have enough acres of land to hold the infrastructure. Both solar thermal and geothermal benefit from initiatives such as the Corn Belt Power Cooperative Rebate Program which is available to most sectors including agriculture and residential. For commercial needs there is also the Business Energy Efficiency Rebate which is offered by 16 utility companies.

Biomass Incentives in Iowa

Biomass energy has begun to take off in the United States and Iowa is trying to do its part. The installation of the Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant is providing a substantial part of the electricity needs for the University of Iowa. Corporate tax credits for businesses and personal tax credits for residential installations all help the cause as well as various state loan facilities such as the IADG Energy Bank Revolving Loan Program.

Wind Power Incentives in Iowa

Wind has been the major part of Iowa’s renewable technology program over the last few years and is set to remain so for the future. It has the perfect resources for small and large scale wind turbine installation and there are a number of incentives in place to ensure that this continues. These not only include the Federal Tax Rebate but also the state Energy Replacement Generation Tax Exemption.

While it lags behind in traditional renewable technologies such as solar, Iowa is one of the leading states when it comes to generating wind power and provides a range of incentives that make many viable propositions both for increasing the clean energy mix and getting good value for money.

Find out more about the renewable technology incentives offered by the state of Iowa on the DSIRE web site.

Press Esc to close
Press Esc to close