By: Eric Johnson, Writer, Ideal Energy
On Wednesday, November 1st, Governor Kim Reynolds visited Ideal Energy’s office to talk policy and see the impact of solar energy on Iowa’s economy.
Governor Reynolds made clear she understood the difficulties that ever-changing policy can bring to a growing industry. “It’s very disrupting,” she said. “You need the stability. That impacts investments and that impacts production.”
Roger Vorhies, vice president of Schaus-Vorhies Companies, emphasized the importance of the solar Investment Tax Credit. “The tax credits were a big part of our decision,” he said. “It was a business decision. The return on investment was enhanced by the tax credits.”
Schaus-Vorhies Manufacturing (SVM), part of the Schaus-Vorhies Companies group, installed a half-megawatt solar array on a restored industrial brownfield adjacent to its facility. At the time, it was the largest privately owned solar array in Iowa. The array saves SVM approximately $100,000 per year in utility costs.
From Left to Right: Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg discuss how manufacturing businesses like are gaining a competitive edge with solar energy, SVM Co-Founder Roger Vorhies explains what factors drove his company to install solar.
Tom Kimbis, Executive Vice President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) spoke about additional policy issues in the solar industry, including the Suniva trade complaint before the United States International Trade Commission.
Kimbis also emphasized the growth and dynamism of the solar industry. SEIA represents around 1,000 companies with 260,000 solar jobs in the U.S. – including 38,000 American manufacturing jobs. Kimbis spoke about solar innovation including smart inverters, Tesla’s Gigafactory, and battery storage solutions.
“The great news here is that you have these innovative ideas you’ve heard just from this one short conversation,” he said. “These are the things making solar so exciting. This is happening everywhere.”
Solar Plus Storage
“In order for solar to work for Mary we had to bring a brand new technology in, which is something that’s really exciting,” Amy said. “Linn County REC, her utility, had a cap on the amount of net metering they would provide. But Mary wanted to take the store to 100% net-zero. We were able to pair her solar installation with batteries to allow her to maintain that net-metering threshold and at the same time benefit from the full advantage of solar.”
This technology is slated to be an increasing part of Ideal Energy’s portfolio of solutions. It’s particularly useful for large utility users who want to eliminate expensive demand charges, which are difficult to reduce with solar arrays alone.
High demand charges?
Work with an Ideal Energy expert to discover how battery energy storage systems can help.
Steffensmeier reinvested those savings in her employees and her business. The business introduced a new benefits package that adds coverage for dental, vision, and disability. Several employees are receiving AutoCAD training at a local community college. And the company hired additional workers to run a second shift.
Governor Reynolds is Excited about Solar
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