Largest solar operation in Iowa now generating energy in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Largest solar operation in Iowa now generating energy in Dubuque

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Officials with Alliant energy flipped the symbolic switch Wednesday morning, and now the largest solar operation in the state of Iowa is generating energy.

The two solar gardens, based in the west part of Dubuque and the Port of Dubuque, generate a combined 6.2 megawatts a year. They say that's enough energy to power 850 homes annually.

But for now, you won't feel the effects of this project on your monthly bill.  

"These two sites will not have a significant impact to customers. What we see in the future, though, is as costs go down, we will be able to install more and larger solar facilities that will be able to lower the cost of energy for customers," said Terry Kouba, vice president of Iowa operations for Alliant Energy.

Kouba says these solar gardens now become a research project for the company.

He says they're eying 2020 and beyond for when their solar portfolio could grow large enough to effect your bottom line.

"Down the road, when they're more efficient, they're lower cost, and we install more of them, then we'll start seeing that have more of an impact on customer cost," he said.

Alliant's newest solar garden sits on a previously vacant manufacturing site alongside Highway 151.  They say the site couldn't be used for much, and that made it perfect for a solar garden.

Kouba says they'll continue to look for similar sites around the state for future solar gardens.

Alliant says this is part of an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

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