Several bills passed this session will extend renewable energy efforts across the state.
Senate File 2340 triples the amount of tax credits that are available to Iowans for installing solar energy projects, to a total of $4.5 million annually. The bill also increases the amount of money that individuals can claim for installing solar energy installations.
The total cap for the solar energy credits was exceeded last year, and almost two-thirds of the cap for this year is already committed. According to one recent study, up to 20% of Iowa’s annual electric needs could be met by rooftop solar installations. A 2011 report found the potential to create almost 5,000 jobs statewide with an expanded solar energy program.
Senate File 2343 extends the deadline for issuing wind energy tax credits for two additional years. This change would not increase the total value of credits available, but would instead assure currently approved projects could fully claim the already available credits.
Iowa is currently the 3rd leading producer of wind energy in the nation producing enough power for over one million homes. Iowa already generates 25% of electricity from wind turbines, which is the highest in the nation. According the Wind Energy Association, there are about 7,000 jobs in Iowa dependent on wind energy.
The bill also expands the types of cogeneration technologies that could be used at facilities across the state, including ethanol plants. Cogeneration is the production of both electricity and heat from the same source, often utilizing steam that is otherwise a byproduct. The goal is to make the renewable energy production process more efficient.
Legislation was also adopted to strengthen and diversify Iowa’s leadership in biofuels. Ethanol and biodiesel plants create jobs in rural Iowa. Creating demand for the higher ethanol and biodiesel blends will help Iowa’s economy.
Senate File 2344 increases the tax credit for E15 during the hot summer months; extends Iowa’s biodiesel production tax credit for three years to retain and attract biodiesel producers; and adds an advanced biofuel, biobutanol, to Iowa’s renewable fuels industry.
On May 27th, Representative Curt Hanson (D- Fairfield), Representative Bob Kressig (D- Cedar Falls), Senator Bob Dvorsky (D- Coralville) and Senator Dennis Black (D- Lynnville) joined Governor Terry Branstad for the signing of Senate File 2340 that triples the amount of tax credits that are available to Iowans for installing solar energy projects.