Today (July 11) the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that power purchase agreements (PPAs) do not violate state law or utilities’ monopoly status and exclusive rights to sell energy to consumers in their service areas, upholding a decision from a lower court. The decision means that it just got a lot easier to go solar in the state.
“Today’s decision is a win for Iowans because it gives everyone the option to go solar affordably,” said Brad Klein, senior attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). Klein argued the case on behalf of a large solar and environmental advocates. “Across the country, families, businesses and communities have gone solar with third-party ownership. Now, that opportunity can come to Iowa, too.”
“We are pleased that the court agreed with us that agreements that take place behind the meter cannot be considered utility deals.…This ruling opens up solar to a larger audience by bringing down up-front costs,” said Josh Mandelbaum, staff attorney with ELPC’s Des Moines office. “This decision will make solar more affordable for Iowa families and businesses, and it also helps cities, churches and other non-profits to get the whole value of clean energy.”
“This is an important milestone for solar energy in Iowa. It undoubtedly will help to jumpstart solar installations across the state, creating new jobs, pumping money into the Iowa economy and reducing pollution,” said Solar Energy Industries Association President Rhone Resch. “But just as importantly, this is a victory for freedom of choice, affirming the right of Iowans to decide how they want to power their homes and businesses in the future. We commend the court for doing the right thing.”
The ruling stems from a 2011 case brought by Alliant Energy. The utility argued that an agreement between solar installer Eagle Point Solar and the City of Dubuque violated the utility’s monopoly territory constituted the creation of a utility, ELPC said. The city and Eagle Point Solar signed a PPA under which it would purchase the energy from the system. The court rejected the claim.
“Third-party PPAs like the one proposed by Eagle Point actually further one of the goals of regulated electric companies, namely, the use of energy efficient and renewable energy sources,” wrote Justice Brent Appel in the majority opinion.Tweet