Photo: Tim Dwight, a former NFL and University of Iowa player, is president of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association. Credit: Benjamin Roberts, Iowa City Press-Citizen
Nebraskans for Solar (NFS) wishes to thank last evening’s November public forum speaker, Tim Dwight, for sharing his experience and expertise as President of both the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association and Integrated Power Corporation, a company that develops solar energy projects for businesses and agricultural producers, primarily in Iowa and California.
Many thanks, too, to everyone who attended the event at UNO’s Community Engagement Center and to NFS board members Michael Shonka and Jared Friesen for, respectively, introducing Dwight and leading the Q&A session that followed his talk.
Tim Dwight frequently travels around Iowa and occasionally to other locales, educating people about solar energy and demonstrating how cost effective the technology is today. We are grateful that he included Omaha on his itinerary, and we hope he will return for another visit and discussion sometime in the near future.
In last night’s presentation, Dwight said that when he started in the industry in 2008, a solar module cost $4.00 a watt. Nowadays, you can purchase one for as little as 70 cents per watt.
Dwight attributes the growth and success of solar in Iowa and all across the country, in part, to this steep reduction in costs. Another contributing factor he highlighted in last night’s presentation is the state’s energy production tax credit. As President of Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association, he, along with other solar advocates, lobbied for the incentive. In 2012 the state legislature passed SF2340, the Iowa solar tax credit, and in 2014 voted into law 476C, which added solar to a wind production tax credit (PTC). Iowa’s PTC is 1.5 cents per KWh.
Dwight also talked about the jobs being created by the solar industry in his state and the significant numbers of dollars locally-developed projects are contributing to communities. There are currently forty installers in Iowa’s solar industry, a more competitive field than in Nebraska, he noted.
An additional contributing factor to the growth and success of Iowa’s solar energy development, according to Dwight, is the increasing number of rural electric cooperatives’ solar installations across the state. As an example, he pointed to the small Farmers Electric Cooperative in the little town of Kalona, Iowa, which last month expanded an existing solar farm, taking it to 2 megawatts, currently the largest solar farm in Iowa.
Another of Dwight’s presentation slides demonstrated how some Iowa farmers are earning more each year from solar energy development on their land than they are receiving from their annual corn crops.
To learn more about Tim Dwight and his work, the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association, as well as Nebraska’s and Iowa’s incentives for renewables, including Iowa’s production tax credit, check out the links, below.
Please join us again on December 14th when our speaker will be David Bracht, Nebraska Energy Office Director, whose topic will be “Renewable Energy Development in Nebraska:” UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Second Floor, 7 p.m.
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