Home-grown solar reaps opportunities for Iowa

September sunshine provided the perfect backdrop last week for a solar energy tour attended by Congressman David Young and staff for Senator Charles Grassley.

Co-sponsored by the Iowa Environmental Council, the Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Iowa Solar Trade Association, the tour highlighted innovative businesses in Polk County that are taking advantage of Iowa’s solar energy potential.

The Iowa State Capitol overlooks solar panels on PV panels on the roof of the Market One and its adjacent parking lot canopy. The Market One Building  was designed by Modus Engineering, which has developed Iowa’s first commercial office building with a net-zero design.

The Iowa State Capitol overlooks solar panels on PV panels on the roof of the Market One and its adjacent parking lot canopy, one of the stops on the solar tour. The Market One Building was designed by Modus Engineering, which has developed Iowa’s first commercial office building with a net-zero design.

Stops along the solar tour included:

  • Van Meter, Inc: This wholesale distributor of “automation, electrical, datatcomm, lighting, power transmission and clean energy products and services” (including solar panels and products) also cuts its own energy costs with a 3.5 kW solar installation at its Urbandale facility.
  • Hy-Vee (Urbandale Store): Iowa’s largest private employer is quickly growing its alternative energy installations, with electric vehicle charging stations at 30 of its stores, wind and solar powered light installations at 5 stores, and solar installations at 2 stores, including its Urbandale location.
  • The World Food Prize: The organization’s headquarters prove that modern solar technology can fit seamlessly with historic architecture. Rooftop solar panels installed on the LEED platinum facility save the organization nearly $3,300 each year.
  • Market One Building designed by Modus Engineering: By utilizing PV panels on the roof of the Market One and its adjacent parking lot canopy, MODUS Engineering has developed Iowa’s first commercial office building with a net-zero design. The building produces more power than it consumes, allowing excess power to be used by the utility company and customers on the local grid.

By utilizing home-grown solar energy, these Iowa businesses are keeping valuable jobs and dollars in our state: The solar industry supply chain provides jobs to 900 Iowans and supports nearly 50 Iowa businesses.

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