Net Metering in Iowa

Net Metering

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Last Updated June 18, 2015

Program Overview

    • Implementing Sector:

      State

    • Category:

      Regulatory Policy

    • State:

      Iowa

    • Incentive Type:

      Net Metering

    • Start Date:

      07/01/1984

    • Utilities:

      Interstate Power and Light Co, MidAmerican Energy Co

    • Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:

      Solar Photovoltaics, Wind (All), Biomass, Hydroelectric, Municipal Solid Waste, Wind (Small), Hydroelectric (Small)

    • Applicable Sectors:

      Commercial, Industrial, Residential

    • Applicable Utilities:

      Investor-owned utilities

    • System Capacity Limit:

      500 kW

    • Aggregate Capacity Limit:

      No limit specified

    • Net Excess Generation:

      Credited to customer’s next bill at retail rate; carries over indefinitely; excess credits cannot be cashed out

    • Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:

      Not addressed

    • Meter Aggregation:

      Not addressed; meter aggregation and virtual net metering are not generally available to customers

Summary

Note: In January 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board issued an order commencing an inquiry on distributed generation and interconnection issues under Docket No. NOI-2014-0001. Details will be posted here if the inquiry results in any changes to Iowa’s net metering policy.

Iowa’s statutes do not explicitly authorize the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to mandate net metering, but this authority is implicit through the board’s enforcement of PURPA and Iowa Code § 476.41 et seq. Iowa’s net-metering subrule, adopted by the IUB in July 1984, applies to customers that generate electricity using alternate energy production facilities (AEPs).

Eligibility and Availability

Net metering is available to customers of Iowa’s two investor-owned utilities, MidAmerican Energy and Interstate Power and Light (IPL). MidAmerican Energy’s net metering tariff is available here, and IPL’s tariff is available here.

There is no explicit limit on either the size of a net-metered system or on total enrollment in the IUB’s subrule. However, separate rule waivers have allowed MidAmerican Energy and IPL to limit individual systems to 500 kilowatts (kW). Customers that have an on-site renewable energy system through an existing third-party power purchase agreement are not eligible for net metering under the existing net metering tariffs of MidAmerican and IPL. IPL also limits net metering to customers on the Residential, Farm, or General Service rate schedules, so customers on the Large General Service rate schedule (i.e., customers using more than 20,000 kWh per month) are ineligible to net meter.

According to the IUB, net metering is available to approximately 89% of residential customers in Iowa (see Docket No. NOI-2014-0001, “Order Soliciting Additional Comments and Scheduling Workshop,” p. 6). The IUB has so far declined to assert jurisdiction over net metering policies for non-rate-regulated utilities (i.e., electric cooperatives and municipal utilities), but strongly encourages them to adopt net metering policies on a voluntary basis.

Net Excess Generation

Although Iowa’s net-metering subrule requires utilities to purchase a customer’s net excess generation (NEG) at the utility’s avoided cost rate, subsequent rule waivers allow MidAmerican Energy and IPL customers to carry NEG forward for use in future months as a kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit. The net metering kWh offset effectively provides a credit at the customer’s retail electricity rate; however, MidAmerican and IPL customers cannot cash out any excess credits.

Interconnection

An overview of Iowa’s interconnection guidelines can be found here.

Authorities

    • Date Enacted:
      07/27/1984

Contact

Memos

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    • 06/18/2015 by Ben Inskeep

      Updated summary to indicate that net metering is not widely available for systems where a customer purchases the system’s electricity output through a power purchase agreement with a third party.

  • 06/05/2015 by Ben Inskeep

    Annual review. The net metering policy is currently being reviewed by the Iowa Utilities Board.

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