Major utility’s about-face is big win for solar power in Iowa

Courtesy of Bleeding Heartland http://www.bleedingheartland.com/

One of Iowa’s major investor-owned utilities has changed a policy that was impeding new solar power projects, Karen Uhlenhuth reported for Midwest Energy News over the weekend. Follow me after the jump for background and details on this excellent news.

Background

The relatively high up-front cost of installing photovoltaic panels has long been a barrier to expanding solar power. Third-party purchasing agreements have become a popular way around that problem. The concept is simple:

A Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) is a financial arrangement in which a third-party developer owns, operates, and maintains the photovoltaic (PV) system, and a host customer agrees to site the system on its roof or elsewhere on its property and purchases the system’s electric output from the solar services provider for a predetermined period. This financial arrangement allows the host customer to receive stable, and sometimes lower cost electricity, while the solar services provider or another party acquires valuable financial benefits such as tax credits and income generated from the sale of electricity to the host customer.

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