Small Wind Innovation Zone Program and Model Ordinance

From Open Energy Information

Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Rules Regulations Policies Program

Place Iowa
Name Small Wind Innovation Zone and Model Ordinance
Incentive Type Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Applicable Sector Institutional, Local Government, Schools, State Government, Utility
Eligible Technologies Wind
Active Incentive Yes
Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs

Last DSIRE Review 2012-08-15
Last Substantive Modification
to Summary by DSIRE

References Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency[1]


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.

Incentive Contact

Contact Name General Contact
Department Iowa League of Cities
Address 317 Sixth Avenue, Suite 800
Place Des Moines, Iowa
Zip/Postal Code 50309-4111
Phone (515) 244-7282
Fax (515) 244-0740

Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: Iowa Code § 476.48
Date Effective 2009-05-22
Date Enacted 2009-05-22

Authority 2: 199 IAC 15.22
Date Effective 2010-09-01
Date Enacted 2010-07-28

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency" Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "DSIRE" defined multiple times with different content