Franklin Community Solar Array

Iowans must give a 30-day notice to their utilities when alternative energy sources, such as solar panels or wind generators, are to be installed.

Since January 2013, when the Iowa House File 2301 went into effect, Iowa residents installing any renewable energy system that will be attached to an electric transmission or distribution line are required to notify their utility 30 days ahead of construction. 

Renewable energy production facilities are defined as solar or solar photovoltaics (PV), wind turbine, waste management, resource recovery, refuse-derived fuel, agricultural crops or residues, or wood burning facilities used to generate electricity.

Under this requirement, the facility owner is required to provide written notification to their utility of the intent to construct or install the facility at least 30 days prior to construction. In the written notice the owner must provide information on the type of facility and the anticipated completion date of the construction.

This is important legislation that protects our power line workers. During a power outage requiring work on cooperative electric lines, line workers need to be unaware of the additional connected generation. Workers could easily be injured by power feeding back onto the line from the member’s alternative energy sources.

When contacted about renewable generation to be installed, Franklin REC will advise its members about devices needed at the interconnection point that will keep power from flowing back onto the grid.

“Safety is number one,” said Chad Foster, energy services director at Franklin REC. “Communication between members and the co-op is very important when it comes to installing an energy source.

“We want members to know if they buy a small wind turbine or install solar panels that voltage can still get stepped up through the transformer and go back out onto the grid, where it can injure people unaware that it is connected.”

For more information, contact Franklin REC at 641-456-2557.