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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds traveled throughout a portion of Southeast Iowa, visiting Keosauqua, Bloomfield and Ottumwa. Pat Brink covered the three events and has this report on the governor.
“The City of Bloomfield is proud to unveil our new solar array today that gets us one step closer to our energy independence goal,” said Chris Ball, Community Development Director for City of Bloomfield. “The solar array would not have been possible without the state’s production tax credit program, which has since expired.
“The City of Bloomfield’s solar project is a pioneering initiative many years in the making. It demonstrates how even a small Iowa town can achieve a sustainable future for their residents,” said Tyler Anderson, President of Simpleray. “My team is proud of the part we played in helping Bloomfield become more energy independent – but ultimately it took Bloomfield’s vision and dedication to make this project a reality.
A lot has changed since two months ago when the Hubbard-Radcliffe School Board first discussed putting solar arrays on its buildings. Since then Alliant Energy has made it more difficult to get all the benefits of solar energy the Board thought it would get by making the move.
Bloomfield is probably one of the last places people might consider progressive in renewable energy efforts, but it is. Actually, it’s more than progressive, it’s a pioneer.
Bloomfield recently installed a massive 1.86-megawatt solar field to generate its own power.
Janae Rowe, customer experience and marketing manager for Simpleray, said the bill struck the section about discriminatory rates. The company spoke to legislators about the costs to their customers.
“The outcome was fairly good,” Rowe said. “It would have been better if the whole thing hadn’t gone through.”
There are more than 300 solar panels that now adorn the roof of GehlPRO Welding on the west side of Carroll, where workers melt, cut and bend metal to repair trailers and other farm equipment or make things like fire escapes.
That work takes a lot of electricity — about $700 worth each month
According to industry experts here in Iowa, currently, the U.S. does not have the solar panel manufacturing output to avoid having to import.
“The United States isn’t producing enough to even meet that demand if it wanted to, so it’s going to put upward pressure on prices for anything that gets imported” said Lewis Butler, Sales Manager for Simpleray.
The Iowa Pork Congress for 2018 is underway with 5000 people expected to attend. The show features some 500 booths with exhibits around the pork industry.
One growing area of companies selling their product here, is the solar industry.
“It’s been a great growth in a pork industry and farms in general with power usage being up especially in the barns,” said Jeremy Pierson of Simpleray, a Fairfield Iowa firm. “We’re showing a great benefit in reducing or eliminating the power bill.”
City Administrator Gary Baden said last week the city’s new solar tracking array should be fully operational this week after a couple of minor fixes following last week’s inspection.
The nine-acre, 5,400 panel array will track the sun through-out the day and is expected to produce at least 10 percent of the city’s electrical power needed for its 2,600 residents.
Tyler Anderson, president of Simpleray, echoed Olson’s point. He said his company looks for solar installation candidates with backgrounds in construction and the work ethic to show up on time and work hard. He said that’s been difficult to find.
“We’ve found that as long as we have one person that’s kind of the lead that’s really good, and they’re good at training, we can pull in pretty much anybody with construction experience and motivated to work and turn them into an installer,” Anderson said.
The installation of Bloomfield’s solar array, which will be the largest tracking solar field in the state of Iowa, was about 75% complete as of December 20.
The 1.86 megawatt solar field will contain 5,400 solar panels when completed and provide around 10% of city’s energy usage. The Solar array is being installed by Simpleray headquartered in Fairfield.
Just south of U.S. Highway 30 where it passes by State Center, two solar arrays with a total of 2,800 solar panels are set to come online today.
“Basically, it will go online and reduce the amount of power that we have to buy as a community,” said State Center Mayor Harlan Quick of the arrays set up on city property. “That, in the long run, will reduce our expenses, and of course it diversifies our sources of energy.”
In the wake of the United States International Trade Commission’s recent recommendations aimed at leveling the playing field for domestic solar companies via tariffs or quotas on imported solar panels, an Iowa-based solar firm sought to educate consumers and industry professionals about possible outcomes if a policy were to go into effect.
Simpleray has three offices in Iowa — one in Fairfield, one in Des Moines, and one in Bloomfield. The Bloomfield office opened without much fanfare — as anyone knowing Tyler Anderson, the company’s founder, might expect. Anderson, who spent the first 12 years of his life in Bloomfield, is a quiet, but intense individual who has a passion for designing solar fields that provide the best value for the customer.
We are excited and honored to be selected as a finalist for the Most Forward-Thinking Contractor award! Our mission has always been to make solar simple, and we’ve loved coming up with innovative ways to do just that.
More than 30 people attended the event, held at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Boulevard, SW to take part in group discussions and listen to presentations by Larry Weber, director of the University of Iowa’s IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering department and Simpleray Vice President David Birchmier.
While it remains unclear how an Iowa utility will change the way solar customers are compensated, installers in the state aren’t taking chances.
Alliant Energy is expected to introduce a new tariff for customer generation today as part of an ongoing process initiated by state regulators.
The Fairfield City Council heard a proposal Monday that promised to save the city energy by installing solar panels on some of its buildings.
OTTUMWA — Even with a big set of solar panels, you still need Alliant to power your building. This week, the state may decide Alliant deserves more money when offering that help — so much, worry solar business owners, that going solar no longer makes financial sense.
“Follow Farmers” is the story of how Farmers Electric Cooperative in the small southeast Iowa town of Kalona installed nearly 2 MW of solar. The entire construction of this historic solar array is currently streaming live at followfarmers.solar.
The project was able to generate more than a million kilowatt hours each year when it debuted two years ago. Now, the 2,900 solar panels at Farmers Electric Cooperative (FEC) will become more numerous with the installation of another 2,880 solar panels, taking the solar array size to nearly two megawatts.
Farmers Electric Cooperative (FEC) has become a nationally-recognized solar energy leader. FEC, one of the smallest utilities in the nation, is the subject of a case study by Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) published in October.
A 9-acre solar farm in Kalona will generate enough energy to power some 200 homes in the town, which is also a major provider of eggs in nearby grocery stores.
Just over 1 million eggs are processed every day at Farmers Hen House in Kalona, then shipped to grocery stores across Iowa.