Last Thursday, Governor Branstad joined solar energy installers, manufacturers, renewable energy advocates and customers at Solar Day 4.0 at the Capitol, an annual event hosted by the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association (ISETA).
“Solar started with a small base and has taken off,” said Governor Branstad during remarks to the crowd. “Solar is another area that Iowa can be an innovator and a leader, and we can do it in a practical, commonsense way.”
Governor Branstad also spoke about the economic opportunities presented by solar, the jobs created, and the tremendous potential for growth, as did ISETA President Tim Dwight.
“A few years ago, solar is the U.S. was being installed every four minutes. Today, solar is being installed every 90 seconds, “Dwight said. “Solar has seen huge growth and Iowa is getting on the map.”
“Customers are excited about the cost of creating their own power, and improving their communities and the environment,” he continued.
This sentiment was echoed by Allan Mallie, an Iowa pork and solar energy producer. Mallie has installed a 40 kW solar array on his 400 acre farm near Lisbon.
“I am harvesting solar energy every day and loving it,” Mallie said. “Solar has diversified our income and makes our farm a viable agricultural operation for the next generation. I’m very excited this. Solar is clean, it’s usable and it will help keep my family in the agricultural business.”
All three men also spoke about the importance of continuing to expand Iowa’s solar market and advancing policies and programs that encourage growth and increase access to solar for Iowa farmers, businesses and homeowners. The Iowa legislature is currently considering solar tax incentive increases to continue the rapid growth of solar in the state,help meet the high demand for incentives, and reduce current waiting lists. The solar industry in Iowa has grown exponentially in recent years thanks in large part to the Iowa solar tax incentive.
“Investing in solar is a win-win for Iowa,” said Iowa Environmental Council Energy Program Director Nathaniel Baer. “When we facilitate growth for renewable energy it benefits our economy, health and quality of life.”