Iowa Solar Panel Business Says New Law Will Benefit Them

Photo by Starting Line staff

One Iowa-based solar panel installer sees a bright future for the growing industry thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.

Todd Miller, President of 1 Source Solar in Ankeny, said his company is doing projects in all of Iowa’s 99 counties, installing solar panels for both residential and commercial buildings, including at many farms.

“This legislation will also help bring more manufacturing back home and to help create energy independence for America through a more secure and reliable energy grid,” he said.

The Inflation Reduction Act is a comprehensive bill to fight climate change by building up America’s manufacturing abilities and its infrastructure, lower health care prices—including for insulin and prescription drugs—and make corporations pay taxes.

Democrats were the only ones to vote for it, including Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.

Axne visited 1 Source Solar on Thursday morning to hear from  Miller and other community organizers about the ways the Inflation Reduction Act will help Iowans.

“I’m so proud to say I’m part of an organization and an administration that decided it was time to really make things here in America again,” Axne said. “And it starts by producing clean energy.”

She also hailed the bipartisan Infrastructure bill, passed in December 2021, with funding for projects already rolling out.

“Together, these two laws have been incredibly impactful. They’re going to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, lower our energy costs, and significantly bolster the green economy across  this country,” Axne said.

Miller told Axne the three manufacturing priorities for the industry are solar panels, batteries, and inverters, the device that converts electricity into something the grid can use. Miller said with those investments, his company can sustainably rely on American-made products.

Costs have come down on solar panels, making them more accessible than ever, and the Inflation Reduction Act has provisions to make it even more so. There are 30% tax credits to install solar panels and to make other upgrades to boost energy efficiency. It also includes tax credits for community solar projects and tax credits for small business owners to install solar panels.

According to the Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa has the potential to produce enough solar energy to power half a billion homes annually and meet current electricity needs 150 times over

Charlie Wishman, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, talked about the high-quality jobs that will be coming as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We have to do something about climate change as a people, as a nation, as a world,” he said. “But if we’re going to do this, let’s make sure that it’s not just better for the environment. But we need to make sure that it’s better for workers as well.”

The Inflation Reduction Act has provisions that require new jobs to pay prevailing wages and there are incentives for union workers to be used. Iowa is receiving $24 billion to boost clean power generation and another chunk of money for domestic manufacturing.

Joe Henry, state political director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) praised the cost-saving benefits of the bill and the promises of health care coverage. Both are concerns for the Latino community, he said.

“In addition to helping families who are struggling financially due to inflation and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this bill takes unprecedented action to protect our planet and to tackle climate change,” Henry said. “This is a historic step towards a healthier, fairer and more sustainable America. And we look forward to seeing the positive changes it will have upon our Latino community throughout the United States.”

“Iowans are going to see about $200 cut to their energy bills each year thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. And we’re expecting to create over 900,000 good-paying jobs to cut our carbon emissions, which is a total of about 40% from our 2005 baseline. We’re expecting to cut it by 40%,” Axne told the group.

“I think you heard earlier why this impact can’t be overstated,” she continued. “I mean, our kids’ lives are on the line. This is the first time I’ve seen news reports saying that, you know, we’re not going to be as successful or live as long as the generations before us, but we can put that on a different trajectory.”


Nikoel Hytrek

Correction: A previous version of this story called 1 Source Solar a manufacturer. The company installs solar panels. We regret the error.

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