Known for wind, new Iowa project may herald start of solar development in the state

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Cedar Rapids Gazette:Less than 1 percent of Central Iowa Power Cooperative’s energy comes from the sun, not all that rare in a state with less than 100 megawatts of installed solar. However, all that could change soon as CIPCO hopes next year to flip the switch on a solar project that essentially would double the state’s solar capacity.The Iowa Utilities Board in December approved plans to shut down Duane Arnold Energy Center in 2020, five years sooner than officials with CIPCO had anticipated, leaving the utility in need of a source of energy for the approximately 120 megawatts of power the utility receives from the state’s sole nuclear power facility — about one-third of the company’s 2018 energy portfolio.Wapello Solar, an 800-acre, 100-megawatt solar project in Louisa County, easily would become the state’s largest solar installation and more than double the installed solar in Iowa.Iowa’s status as a wind energy leader began with the 1983 adoption of a renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, the first of its kind in the nation. Wind made up less than 1 percent of the power generated in Iowa in 1990. By 2016, that figure jumped to 37 percent of state generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federal entity that tracks nationwide energy use. In the same time frame, coal — a fossil fuel commonly offset by renewable sources — dropped from 86 percent of the state’s electricity generation to almost half that, at 47 percent.But as wind power has flourished, Iowa’s solar portfolio has remained relatively meager — until recently. Jason Hall, founder of North Liberty-based Moxie, a 10-year-old solar company, said the declining cost of solar — the price has dropped from about $8 per watt a decade ago to around $3 per watt — is a key reason for growing interest in solar arrays. “In 2008, there was no solar in Iowa. We didn’t do any,” Hall said, noting that the company’s primary function at the time was focused on energy-efficiency audits. By the end of 2019, Moxie will have completed more solar projects than the company has built in all previous years of operations combined, Hall said.More: The game-changing spark Iowa’s solar industry needs could be in Louisa County Known for wind, new Iowa project may herald start of solar development in the statelast_img

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *