DUBUQUE, Iowa — An electric energy company has started work on a $10 million project to install more than 15,000 solar panels on a 21-acre site in eastern Iowa, making it the state’s largest solar site.

Alliant Energy’s new solar array on the west side of Dubuque will be able to generate 5 megawatts of energy in ideal conditions, enough to power over 725 homes, the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/2q3n2aq ) reported. It’s expected to start generating power in August.

The company’s vice president of generation operations, Terry Kouba, said the array lays the groundwork for solar expansion elsewhere in the state.

“We see the cost of solar going down and the efficiency going up, and we anticipate more and more customers who demand renewable energy,” he said. “Alliant will invest in more solar projects in the future, and we will look back at this Dubuque project and say, ‘This is where it began.'”

Mayor Roy Buol characterized the array as being an ideal fit for the land.

“This piece couldn’t have been used for many things, so this project was a perfect way to utilize some of the excess acreage,” Buol said. “We believe that solar and renewable energy really are the future.”

Crews will also install solar panels on a 6-acre site in east Dubuque that was used as a factory and foundry site for over 80 years. The 1.2-megawatt system with 3,500 panels will generate enough energy to power more than 125 homes.

Richard Zimmerman, strategic project manager for Alliant, said work on that location will begin in June.

“Conversations about this project started about one and a half years ago,” he noted. “So there was a relatively short germination period.”


Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com