Iowa’s Largest Solar Power Plant Nearly Finished

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Solar power continues to plow forward thanks to record-low costs that have followed a long, long slide (or at times avalanche) in solar panel prices. This week we got news of Iowa getting its largest solar power park to date.

Photo courtesy of Clēnera

Renewable energy company Clēnera and RES (Renewable Energy Systems) have teamed up on a 127.5 megawatt (MW) solar project in Louisa County, the Wapello Solar project. It will produce enough electricity for around 45,000 homes, but with the electricity sold to the local utility, the Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO).

“We are thrilled to work with Clēnera on this milestone project, as we look to strike a meaningful balance with energy cost, reliability and stewardship for our members,” said CIPCO CEO and Executive Vice President Bill Cherrier. “Energy produced by the sun provides an excellent complement to wind energy. The energy we purchase from Wapello Solar will be produced during our daily and seasonal peak demand times. This is an innovative way for us to offer reliability and efficiency to CIPCO’s energy portfolio.”

The solar power plant should go into operation by the end of 2020. RES is the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) partner on the project. “RES, the world’s largest independent renewable energy company, commenced construction in July 2020 and will employ over 280 workers at the peak of construction, many of whom will be locally hired,” a press release notes. Here are a few more facts about the project:

  • Construction started in June.
  • The project has hired 200+ construction workers.
  • It’s expected to create $5.2 million in tax revenue.

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Zachary Shahan

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