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Grinnell Solar Park Offers Collaboration on Renewable Energy Progress

Grinnell Solar Park

May 2, 2024

Alliant Energy, with four Grinnell community partners, has broken ground on multiple solar projects that will total five megawatts (MW), at the new Grinnell Solar Park on the west side of the city.

Alliant Energy will own, operate and maintain the Grinnell Solar Park as part of its Alliant Energy® Customer-Hosted Renewables program.  This new solar park showcases the benefits of renewable energy and is a new source of reliable energy for the community. The company is appreciative of the forward-looking partners that made these four projects possible.

The four community partners will each have their own solar projects nestled within the park. The City of Grinnell and Grinnell College will both have 2-MW projects. Mayflower Community and Ahrens Park Foundation will have a 625-kilowatt (kW) and a 375-kW facility, respectively.

All four get to showcase their commitment to sustainability through these projects.

As we break ground on the Grinnell Solar Park, our community partner Grinnell College has instilled the goal that we're not just constructing panels; we're illuminating a path toward a more sustainable future. The collaborative effort between Alliant Energy and our incredible community partners signifies a commitment to harnessing the power of renewable energy. Together the team will not only generating clean power but also empowering our community with the resources to thrive for generations to come.

The solar park will be located on a brownfield site, formerly commercial or industrial land where environmental factors may limit future development opportunities. The community worked closely with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for many years to clean up the property and perform environmental testing.

Solar projects improve the environment in several ways. Beyond being a clean source of energy and making the grid more reliable, the native grasses and seed mixes that we plant at solar projects reduce storm water runoff and erosion while providing habitat for a variety of pollinators, birds and other wildlife.

The low-growth grasses and plants have a stronger root structure that naturally enhances groundwater filtration, reducing the amount of pollutant in the groundwater the ends up in local bodies of water.

The revitalization of this underutilized brownfield site was made possible by the work of the Grinnell School District and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Collectively, the partners’ work eliminated an abandoned and dilapidated nuisance industrial facility, paving the way for these improvements,” said Russ Behrens, Grinnell City Manager. The collaborative work will result in the generation of 5 megawatts of clean, renewable energy and meaningful revenue for the participants. The net revenue for Grinnell over the potential 35-year life span is over $3 million to support projects such as emergency medical services and streets.

Alliant Energy expects the Grinnell Solar Park will be operational in early 2025. The solar park will allow the energy company to study the impact of solar projects on the local distribution system and act as an educational tool for Grinnell College and others in the community to learn how solar energy works.

The advantages that this solar project bring to our community are significant and it showcases the potential to stimulate our local economy, enhancement of health and well-being, preserving our environment, reduction in utility expenses, as well as understanding and education around how solar works.

What is the Purpose of the Grinnell Solar Park?

This collection of projects came about because of a collaboration with the City of Grinnell announced in December 2022.

The city had purchased the land for this project, and once made aware of interest from other organizations, sold parcels of land to the other community partners to comply with the Alliant Energy® Customer-Hosted Renewables tariff, which requires projects to be built on customer property.

We want to make it as easy as possible to choose clean energy solutions that meet your needs. When you look at all the renewable energy options on the market, what’s best for you, your family or your business may not be clear. To help, here are the most common options available for Alliant Energy’s residential and business customers:

  • Customer-owned generation: Customers install an independent solar system on their property to directly power their home or business. Customers are still connected to the grid and can buy additional energy if the panels don’t meet their needs. They also sell power to the grid if their panels produce more than they need. These installations have a larger upfront cost, but tax credits are available.
  • Alliant Energy® Community Solar: Alliant Energy builds, owns and operates a dedicated solar garden on behalf of subscribers. Residential and business customers purchase 250-watt solar blocks to offset up to 100% of their expected energy use. The upfront costs pay for construction and operation. In return, customers receive bill credits each month based on the energy produced over the 20-year life of the project. Iowa electric customers can join a waitlist after our recently completed Cedar Rapids Community Solar garden became operational earlier this year.
  • Alliant Energy® Customer-Hosted Renewables: Alliant Energy leases land from commercial and industrial customers on which to build, own and operate renewable energy projects. Projects must be 300 kilowatts to 2.25 megawatts. Many variables factor into whether a location is viable. Visit the program webpage for more details.
  • Alliant Energy® Renewable Energy Partner: This program helps commercial and industrial customers enter into a power purchase agreement for a renewable energy project. They pay for the energy generated, receive renewable energy credits and get bill credits each month.

Why Trust Alliant Energy?

The park is another important component in Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint, the company’s roadmap to diversify its energy mix and accelerate its transition to renewable energy. The company’s Clean Energy Vision includes a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its utility operations by 2050.

Alliant Energy is the third-largest owner and operator of regulated wind energy in the United States. The energy company is on track to place more than 400 MW of solar energy into service in 2024 as well.

Our dedicated associates ensure renewables projects are constructed, operated and maintained efficiently, allowing our customers to focus their efforts on what they do best – running their businesses.

If you’re interested in additional information about any of the programs listed above, please contact your Key Account Manager or (800) ALLIANT.

Throughout Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) 11-county region, a thriving economic environment is attracting more Investors to do business. Learn more about other recent development projects in the region. Recently completed projects and big ongoing developments include the ICON Central Iowa Water Trails, DART expanded transit options, Ignit Sports & Fitness, MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex and The Grand Experience.

Chris Caporale

Chris Caporale is an experienced communicator focusing his efforts on educating customers about the benefits of clean energy and how agriculture and renewables can co-exist. Learn more at alliantenergy.com.