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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Small Wind Innovation Zone Program and Model Ordinance   

Last DSIRE Review: 08/15/2014
Program Overview:
State: Iowa
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Wind
Applicable Sectors: Schools, Local Government, Utility, Tribal Government, Institutional
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Iowa Code ยง 476.48
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
199 IAC 15.22

In May 2009 the Iowa Legislature created the Small Wind Innovation Zone Program, which allows any city, county, or other political subdivision to create small wind innovation zones that promote small wind production. In order to qualify for the designation, the city must adopt the Small Wind Innovation Zone Model Ordinance and also establish an expedited approval process for small wind energy systems. System owners must also enter into a model interconnection agreement with an electric utility.

Under this program, small wind is considered to be any turbine with a rated capacity of 100 kilowatts (kW) or less. The model ordinance requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Tower Height and Setback: Towers be set back from all property lines, public right of ways, and above-ground public utility lines at least 115% of the total extended height of the turbine unless approval is granted by other property owners. Federal Aviation Administration height regulations apply.
  • Engineering Approval: Systems of 20 kW or less must have plans and specifications approved by an Iowa registered engineer.
  • Safety: Climbing foot pegs or rungs below 12 feet must be removed to prevent unauthorized climbing. Lattice and guyed towers must have sheets of metal or wood fastened to the bottom tower section in order to prevent unauthorized climbing.
  • Sound: Systems may not "produce sound at a level that would constitute a nuisance."
  • Insurance: System owners must be able to demonstrate general liability insurance coverage for the installation and operation of the system.
  • Abandonment: Owners of an inoperable wind system will receive a notice after 6 consecutive months of inoperability. At that point, the owner will have 6 months to restore the system to operating condition or remove the system.
  • Signage: No signs can be displayed on any part of a wind system.
  • Lighting: No lighting of the system is allowed unless required by the Federal Aviation Administration or other ordinance.

A political subdivision must apply to the Iowa Utilities Board for designation as a Small Wind Innovation Zone. A utility that has one or more small wind innovation zone in its service territory must file an annual report on April 1 of each year.

  General Contact
Iowa League of Cities
317 Sixth Avenue, Suite 800
Des Moines, IA 50309-4111
Phone: (515) 244-7282
Fax: (515) 244-0740
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.