Julia Poska| December 20, 2018
The new year will be a big one for solar power in Iowa. The Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) recently announced plans to start construction on a 100-megawatt solar farm on 800 acres in Louisa County at the end of 2019. This would be Iowa’s largest solar project to date, and will likely be completed at the end of 2020.
An Idaho company called Clēnera (pronounced clean-era) will develop and operate the farm, to be named Wapello Solar. According to conversions from Clēnera’s website, clean energy generated by Wapello Solar could offset carbon emissions equivalent to driving 8.8 billion miles or 8.5 million barrels of oil over 20 years.
CIPCO will purchase 100 percent of energy produced and share it among cooperative members, including the Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative, which serves the construction area. Some of this energy will offset the loss of the the Duane Arnold Energy Center nuclear plant in Palo, Iowa, of which CIPCO owned a 20 percent share and derived 20 percent of its generating capacity.