Sen. Joni Ernst visits Ideal Energy and tours the SVM Solar Field
Discussing Iowa’s leadership role in solar energy
Ideal Energy was honored to have Senator Joni Ernst stop in to our headquarters in Fairfield, Iowa, on Thursday, August 17th to learn about the growth of Iowa’s solar economy and tour one of our flagship solar installations at Schaus-Vorhies Manufacturing.
During her visit the senator spoke with Ideal Energy founder and former US Navy SEAL Troy Van Beek about Iowa’s leadership role in the nation’s growing clean energy economy. Iowa is at the forefront of utility-scale wind projects and in recent years has seen explosive growth in solar installations among utilities, businesses, and homeowners.
We emphasized to Senator Ernst that solar’s economic benefits are driving its growth. Rural manufacturing operations and large consumers of energy such as Steffensmeier Welding and Manufacturing and Schaus-Vorhies Manufacturing are putting their substantial savings to work by hiring more employees and investing in training, equipment, and expansion. Both businesses are saving nearly $100,000 per year in electrical costs while covering 100% of their energy needs with solar.
Senator Ernst toured Schaus-Vorhies Manufacturing’s half megawatt solar field, which is sited on a previously contaminated EPA cleanup site. The installation produces revenue for SVM through avoided energy costs and has helped transform the business. Completed in the winter of 2016, the solar field is one of the largest privately owned solar arrays in Iowa.
“Iowa is leading the Midwest’s clean energy economy because of strong leadership from our politicians, businesses, homeowners, and utilities,” said Van Beek. “There is still a lot to do to prepare for the future – and we want to remain on the forefront. I want to see Iowa as a net exporter of clean energy, with 100% or more of our energy production coming from renewables.”
At the end of 2016, 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties had installed solar projects benefitting from Iowa’s solar tax credit, and the state had more distributed solar installed than neighboring Midwest states with a total of 41.8 megawatts.
Senator Ernst agreed that renewables are a key part of Iowa’s energy future. She also expressed interest in battery storage – a rapidly developing technology that can help balance the grid with electricity produced from renewables.
We encourage Senator Ernst to continue supporting both distributed generation and utility-scale renewable energy projects in the state.