Proposed Dubuque solar array would be largest in state - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Proposed Dubuque solar array would be largest in state

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A proposed solar array in Dubuque would be the largest single site array in the state of Iowa, according to officials with Alliant Energy.

Justin Foss says the site, which would span 32 acres at two spots in Dubuque, could be operational by the end of next summer.

They've pegged two sites in Dubuque: one on 26 acres just west of Dubuque's industrial parks, and the other closer to downtown, on the site of the old A.Y. McDonald Foundry.

Foss says the price is right for them to move forward with what he says will be a multi-million dollar project.

"Solar energy in general, has dropped down in price. And now is really the time to learn more about it. It's becoming much more cost effective," he said.

Foss says this project in Dubuque will provide a blueprint for how solar energy can best be used across the state of Iowa.

"Both of those sites, a growing industrial site, and a vacant former industrial site, are very common in Iowa. And we're hoping that, by developing these two sites, with all the support in Dubuque, we'll learn some good things about how to develop sites like that across the state," he said.

The site located closer to downtown will also provide a more strategic outcome for both Alliant and the city.

"Part of it is really the visibility of it. By having this spot in downtown Dubuque, it's going to be a symbol right there of the push for cleaner energy. Not only by the community, but by the utility as well," he said.

Foss says when completed, the entire system, operating in ideal conditions, could generate four megawatts of energy, or more practically, power more than 500 homes each year.

"We're really trying to find what are those benefits that we can draw from solar energy, so that when we use it more places, the customer can see the most benefit from that," he said.

The project has yet to be finalized, but Foss says they're in the process of getting everything ready.  Local officials tell our coverage partners at the Telegraph Herald that the cost of the project will be solely on the shoulders of Alliant, and that it won't cost the city any out of pocket expenses.

He said they hope to start construction in the spring, and start generating power by the end of next summer.

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