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Distributed Generation

Planning for a home distributed generation system is a multistep process that begins with talking to your electric cooperative, and requires significant analysis and fact-finding, and then careful evaluation of the information that you learn in the process.

If you are considering investing in and potentially installing a distributed generation system, it’s important that you follow these key steps:

  1. Conduct an energy efficiency audit. Implementing energy efficiency measures in advance of installing a renewable system can save you money by reducing your overall energy or water consumption, which then reduces the size of the system you'll need to meet your energy needs. 
  2. Schedule a meeting with Southwest Iowa REC. Contact Tim Pfeiffer, Director of Member Services at Southwest Iowa REC at (888) 220-4869 to start the process. We can help you to understand interconnection requirements and point you in the right direction for credible resources. With any type of distributed generation system, maintaining the safety and reliability of the overall power grid is of the utmost priority. We’ll walk you through a number of preliminary safety precautions that must be considered. 
  3. Calculate your energy use and determine overall energy needs. A thorough examination of your electricity needs helps you determine the size of the system you will need, how your energy fluctuates throughout the day and over the year, and energy efficiency measures you can take to reduce your energy use.
  4. Research applicable codes. Each county and community likely has its own set of specific codes and regulations that must be followed in the event you decide to install a distributed energy system.
  5. Contact the Iowa Energy Center. The Iowa Energy Center’s skilled professionals are experts in renewable energy. Once you share some of your preliminary research with them, they can advise you of additional resources; help you to understand the economics of a distributed generation system; help you to determine if a distributed generation system is right for you and what type of renewable energy technology would be best for your property; discuss financing, potential tax incentives and financial incentives; and discuss other requirements such as insurance.

After you complete the above steps, schedule a follow-up meeting with Southwest Iowa REC. Staying engaged with us during all aspects of considering a distributed generation system is critical to the success of your project. As always, please contact a member of the Southwest Iowa REC team at any time to discuss this topic or others with us. We’re here to serve you. 


Distributed Generation Checklist (pdf)

Message from the General Manager: Interconnecting Distributed Generation (pdf)

On-site Generation Guide

Solar PV Energy Guide  (pdf)

FAQs and Tips



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