The industry is now at risk. MidAmerican Energy is pushing a new utility energy bill, House File 669. The bill is a blatant attempt to destroy Iowa’s solar industry by harming the economics on solar projects for farmers, businesses and residents. As of now, 86 percent of solar jobs are serving homes and businesses, while only 14 percent are in utility-scale solar. Utility investments in solar cannot and will not make up for the job losses this bill will cause. This bill would essentially make energy customers pay more to maintain the company’s infrastructure while using less energy. This is an illogical and unfair tactic for MidAmerican to keep its monopoly and kill solar jobs.

The bill will make Iowa businesses less competitive, especially Iowa’s manufacturing and supply chain companies that have strict supplier scorecard criteria to meet with companies they hope to do business with both in and outside of Iowa.

Unfortunately, utility companies such as MidAmerican and Alliant have complete monopolies over their service territory and don’t have to compete for their customers. In the past year, MidAmerican made $600 million-plus in net profits yet claims they don’t have money to cover infrastructure costs.

Iowa can’t go backward on solar. Utilities want to monopolize the sun and kill distributed generation, but we must preserve Iowa’s successful policy framework so farmers, businesses and residents continue to have the option to invest in solar energy. Other neighboring states such as Illinois, Minnesota and Kansas have pro-solar policies that are leading in job growth in those states.

I urge Iowa legislators and the governor to protect the rights of farmers, businesses and citizens and to see the true intention of profit-driven utilities.

Rob Hach