MidAmerican Energy Company demonstrated its commitment to customer fairness and renewable energy growth in Iowa by announcing Wednesday its support for House Study Bill 185.
Also known as the “Solar Options Lead to Affordable Renewables (SOLAR) Act,” the legislation eliminates the shifting of electric grid costs from those who can afford private solar to all other customers, providing customers with more options for connecting solar to the electric grid.
“Growth is possible when policies allow all customers to benefit from renewable energy. If this legislation can fix the cost-shift, then solar energy can have an even brighter future in Iowa, just like wind has experienced in the past decade,” Adam Wright, MidAmerican Energy president and CEO, said.
Currently, the cost of building, operating and maintaining the electric grid is passed on to customers through a monthly energy charge. However, customers who own solar and generate their own energy often are often not subject to the same fees, if charged any fees at all for their use of the electric grid, meaning customers without their own solar bear the burden of these costs. For the average residential MidAmerican customer without solar-generating equipment, this can mean a cost of $328 per year.
“We ensure the electric grid has reliable service 24/7 for all of our customers, including private generation customers who are super-users because they both receive and send energy through the grid,” Wright added. “We embrace and value our solar customers, but we must not allow the cost-shift that exists to negatively impact our other customer.”
As the solar energy industry foresees continued growth of private solar in Iowa, the costs for non solar customers would rise considerably as a result of this electrical grid cost shift. This proposed policy change is in alignment with the Iowa Energy Plan, which laid the groundwork for identifying Iowa’s economic potential for renewable energy, and would eliminate this cost shift, offering customers competitive electric rates.
The SOLAR Act would effectively position Iowa for leading advancements in renewable energy, while continuing to offer MidAmerican Energy customers competitive electric rates and driving economic growth. Note, the House Study Bill 185 would grandfather current solar energy customers into maintaining current pricing and payment structures.
“Common sense legislation focused on keeping costs low and affordable for everyone provides the best opportunity to grow solar in Iowa,” Wright added. “The SOLAR Act makes fair changes that ensure customers who don’t want or can’t afford a rooftop system don’t pay for another customer’s decision.”