Iowa’s largest solar energy facility has officially been completed with the ribbon-cutting ceremony taking place recently. The 127.5 MW direct current Wapello Solar photovoltaic project is located on nearly 800 acres of land south of Wapello, Iowa.
There are 318,000 solar panels at the facility that is capable of providing power over 20,000 homes. Officials at the site explained that since becoming operational, the facility, along with other clean energy operations in the state, now is an important contributor to the Midwest and national power grid. Clēnera, a solar energy development company headquartered in Boise, Idaho began construction over two years ago and partnered d with Renewable Energy Systems to construct the facility. Power generated at the site is being sold to Central Iowa Power Cooperative through an exclusive 25-year power purchase agreement.
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Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said the facility showed how Iowa is one of the country’s leaders in the development of renewable energy. “This is the latest example of Iowa’s diverse energy portfolio,” he said, explaining that diversity includes a variety of sources, including wind, ethanol, biodiesel, and solar. U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks also spoke on Iowa’s energy diversity and how the new facility will provide dependable energy that will improve the environment and the economy, locally and up to the national level. Michael Gallego, Clēnera vice president for operations, agreed local residents will see a major economic benefit from the facility. “It will pay millions of dollars into the local economy,” he predicted.
According to other information, RES workers installed the panels provided by Risen Energy of Ningbo, China, to single-axis trackers supplied by FTC Solar of Austin, Texas, which allows the solar panels to rotate, keeping the greatest amount of panel surface area facing the sun throughout the day at Iowa’s largest solar energy facility.