Contributed by Cody Smith, Center for Rural Affairs, The Gazette
For decades Iowans have led the nation in innovating our way to a cleaner, more reliable power grid that promotes public health and economic prosperity in our rural communities. Now, as we celebrate hitting the milestone of producing nearly 60 percent of our electricity with renewable wind energy, Iowa’s solar industry is also booming and bringing our rural economies along with it. Solar offers a way for Iowa’s local entrepreneurs to slash their energy costs and refocus resources on expanding businesses that line main streets in small towns statewide. Continue reading here.
NEWS FROM OTHER STATES
- Ameren Missouri expanding solar energy output, The Missourian Times
Ameren Missouri is expanding its solar energy generation across the state through its Neighborhood Solar Program, beginning in St. Louis. Ameren teamed with the Habitat for Humanity St. Louis and ReStore, a location dedicated to repurposing donated goods where solar panel canopies are under construction. The energy generated at the site will be used across Ameren’s service area with other locations in the works across the state.
- Indiana: Mitchell High School students propose solar panels for High School and Junior High to save energy costs, WBIW. Between January 1st and December 1st of 2020, a series of electricity bills were charged to Mitchell Community Schools, totaling $118,179. A predicted annual bill after the solar panels are installed would only total up to $67,778, yielding an annual electricity savings of $50,401.
- Report: Wind, solar energy cheaper than most Wisconsin coal plants, Wisconsin State Journal. Only two of Wisconsin’s remaining coal-fired power plants can still compete with new wind and solar generators on price, according to a new study. And even those plants are “on the cusp.”
- Pivot Energy and Standard Solar Develop Three New Community Solar Projects in Colorado, Pivot Energy News Release, PR Newswire. National solar providers continue partnership to advance Colorado’s clean energy transition, provide equitable access to affordable renewable energy
- Guzman Energy plans 80 MW of solar to serve a Colorado electric co-op, PV Magazine
[The electric cooperative] Delta-Montrose completed its buyout from Tri-State last July. Guzman financed the $62.5-million exit fee and provided the co-op with an initial power mix of 40% clean energy, while also beginning development on a solar project.
- Oklahomans ‘flip the switch’ on pricey power companies by going solar, OKC Fox 25
“Now that costs are coming up people are really kind of starting to look for alternatives,” said Solar Power of Oklahoma owner J.W. Peters. After rolling blackouts left Oklahomans in the cold and in the dark this winter, Peters says many are looking to take power back into their own hands, or more specifically, onto their own roofs.
- California community energy group signs PPA for 50MW / 200MWh solar-plus-storage project, Energy Storage News. The battery storage will allow for solar power to be stored and discharged to the grid at times of peak demand. Four-hour duration battery storage allows energy suppliers in California to meet a large proportion of their daily peak,
OPPD expands smart thermostat program, by Jason Kuiper
OPPD’s Smart Thermostat Program has expanded, and now includes more models from several thermostat manufacturers. These additional choices give customers more options for upgrading to a smart thermostat and participating in OPPD’s program. Customers who install a qualifying smart thermostat and enroll in the program also receive a one-time, $75 OPPD bill credit, plus an additional $20 bill credit each year they participate. If customers have an existing qualified smart thermostat they can enroll directly through their smart thermostat app or online.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASE
DOE Launches Initiatives to Accelerate Solar Deployment in Underserved Communities
New Efforts Include $15.5 Million to Tackle Barriers to Solar Deployment, Increased Focus on Expanding Clean Energy Access to Low- and Moderate-Income Communities and Fostering A Diverse Solar Workforce
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RELEASES CONSERVATION PLAN
Conserving And Restoring America The Beautiful Plan (PDF)
A preliminary report to the National Climate Task Force recommending a ten-year, locally-led campaign to conserve and restore the lands and waters upon which we all depend, and that bind us together as Americans.
U.S. solar company GAF Energy moving production back home from Asia, Reuters
GAF Energy, which launched in 2019, competes with Tesla Inc in the market for solar panels that integrate with roofs. It has installed its product on more than 2,000 U.S. rooftops so far, according to [Martin DeBono, president of the company].