Solar surcharge sparks debate in energy industry

    A controversial bill making its way through the Iowa legislature could have a big impact on Iowa's solar energy industry.

    House File 669 would allow the state's electric utilities to charge a fee on residents and businesses that utilize solar energy generation to supplement their regular electric use.

    As it currently stands, residents that equip their homes with solar panels are able to enter into an agreement with their utility company to sell their excess power back into the electric grid. If a solar powered home generates more electricity in a month than they ultimately end up using, their monthly energy charge is zeroed out and the excess is credited to their next bill. In practical terms, this means that a solar powered house may pay nothing for energy for several months out of the year.

For the full story, see the April 18th edition of the Monitor.