Ground will be broken this month on Iowa’s latest renewable energy project, a $7 million dollar, 30-acre solar field that will provide clean power to Grinnell College.
Developed by Trusted Energy of Storm Lake, the project launches a 20-year power-purchase agreement with the College, saving an estimated $3 million in energy costs over that time. It will also reduce the school’s carbon footprint by 18%.
The solar farm will feature more than 10,000 panels located on land just north of the campus and will generate four megawatts of power, enough to meet 30% of the College’s growing energy needs.
Trusted Energy CEO Rob Hach felt that this was exciting for students, faculty, staff, and the area.
Hach said workers are now able to get into the ground and begin running trenches between the site and the campus.
As far as the what this means, Hach felt that this was a significant move forward to reducing a carbon footprint in the area.
He added the site should be fully functional by the end of the year.
Another benefit of the site plan may be the incorporation of deep-rooted perennial grasses and pollinators and the use of the 14-acres for grazing. A local rancher could use the solar field as grazing land for sheep and Hach said that would enhance the appearance and productivity beyond simply energy generation.
Area farmers and businesses are currently turning toward solar as a means of powering their businesses and operations according to Hach.
Each Tessla Battery that is used in the operation can store up to eight hours of power according to Hach. This gives control of the money that would have been spent on utilities, back in to the hands of the farmers and businesses who use a solar array.