Iowa nixes solar grant after lobbying

Gov. Terry Branstad's administration gave up a $1 million federal grant designed to make Iowa a national leader in solar energy after utilities lobbied for major changes.

Emails obtained by The Associated Press show the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Energy terminated the grant in April after months of negotiations over what work would be required to meet its goal of helping cut costs and regulations to speed solar adoption.

The termination wasn't announced publicly. But it came after the Iowa Utility Association lobbied state officials to remove a plan from the grant that called for reviewing solar energy policies.

Solar energy advocates say the grant termination was a missed opportunity to reduce the burdensome costs and regulations that prevent solar adoption.