Award-Winning Energy Projects

The Ideal Newsroom | 10.09.2019

Iowa Environmental Council honors Ideal Energy and two clients at the first annual Bright Idea’s Breakfast

FAIRFIELD, IA – Two Fairfield businesses, Agri-industrial Plastics Company and Ideal Energy, were honored at the Bright Ideas Breakfast on September 26th, downtown Des Moines for demonstrating innovation in a clean energy transition.

Agri-Industrial Plastics Company (AIP) received a Business Innovation award for pioneering Iowa’s first solar project to incorporate Tesla Powerpack, a project that will reduce the company’s peak load by six percent each month, delivering significant cost savings. The 517 kW project is currently the largest rooftop solar installation in the state of Iowa. The company is using the initiative as a strategic differentiator to attract top hires by staking out a cutting-edge, sustainability-focused position. “We’re really focused on being the employer of choice in the region,” said Lori Schaefer-Weaton, President of AIP. “This solar array is like a giant billboard that says, ‘Guess what? This is not your old-school manufacturing building.’ It’s not dark, it’s not dingy, it’s not unsafe. It’s technical, it’s looking forward.” AIP is the first advanced manufacturing operation in Iowa to implement solar plus battery energy storage for peak demand management.

Ideal Energy, a Fairfield-based solar installation company, received a Business Innovation award for leadership in implementing a combination of solar and energy storage which allows large electric consumers to control costly peak demand charges. In addition to peak shaving, Ideal Energy is working to use energy storage in applications such as microgrids, adding grid capacity, emergency back-up power, load shifting, and renewable integration. The company was recently ranked in the top 20 solar and energy contractor firms in the nation by Solar Power Magazine.

A third award was given to Jenny Steffensmeier of Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing in Pilot Grove, who received the Partner in Policy award for her efforts to advance policy around clean energy and efficiency at the state level, as her experience in taking her business 100% solar introduced significant cost savings. The solar projects at both Agri-Industrial Plastics Company and Steffensmeier Welding and Manufacturing were designed and installed by Ideal Energy.

The event, hosted by the Iowa Environmental Council focused on clean energy opportunities for Iowa, exploring how investment and policy efforts in energy efficiency, electrification, and renewable development improves the economy and the environment.“IEC was honored to recognize three Iowa companies leading by example – while saving money! There are many more businesses doing this great work, and many others who have yet to discover the opportunities from investment in energy efficiency, electrification, or renewable projects. Iowa is ready for 100% clean energy and IEC’s number one goal is to shrink our carbon emissions while helping Iowans flourish. The solutions are well within reach and together we can make this transition benefit everyone,” says Kerri Johannsen, Program Director at IEC.


From left to right: Lori Schaefer-Weaton, President of Agri-Industrial Plastics, Jenny Steffensmeier, President of Steffensmeier Welding & Mfg., Inc., and Amy Van Beek, Co-Founder & CMO of Ideal Energy Solar.
Tesla Powerpack at work at Agri-Industrial Plasctics Company

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