DES MOINES, Iowa — Did you know that 10,000 solar panels can produce 3-megawatts worth of energy? That's enough to power nearly 650 Iowa homes.
MidAmerican Energy announced Tuesday, Oct. 26 it was just weeks away from flipping the switch on its first utility-scale solar energy project in Waterloo, Iowa. The 10,000-panel array, according to MidAmerican, is just one of several projects going online this year - totaling a whapping 61 megawatts of renewable energy in 2021. This year's projects also include:
- A 3-megawatt Hills solar project near Iowa City.
- A 4-megawatt Neal solar project near Sioux City.
- A 7-megawatt Franklin solar project in Franklin County.
- A 24-megawatt Arbor Hill solar project in Adair County.
- A 20-megawatt Holliday Creek solar project in Webster County.
But there's more up the energy company's sleeve. An 80-megawatt project will be added at Holliday Creek in 2022, according to MidAmerican.
“As we place more solar projects online over the next few months and years, they will boost the amount of clean, renewable energy we can provide to our customers," Senior Vice-President of Renewable Generation and Compliance at MidAmerican Mike Fehr said in the announcement. "And we’re doing it while also keeping our rates here in Iowa affordable – currently the 11th lowest in the nation."
Wind turbines generated 57% of the state's electricity in 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Last year, about 84% of the energy MidAmerican customers used came from mainly wind-powered renewable resources, according to the Iowa Utilities Board’s verification of company data. The addition of solar projects could help bring MidAmerican Energy closer to reaching its GreenAdvantage program's goal of providing 100% renewable energy to costumers across the state.
“We are proud of the progress we’ve made in delivering renewable energy to our customers, but that’s not where the road ends,” Fehr said. "MidAmerican is striving to reach a net-zero future."
Iowa's largest solar field is located in Wapello. The field, made up of almost 320,000 panels, can power over 20,000 homes.