Solar project brings more renewable energy to Webster County

It will make needed electricity without pollution

Iowa is typically not a place people would consider to be a hotbed of solar energy production. That seems like a better description of sunny Arizona, not Iowa.

But some experts who work in the solar energy field have calculated that the sunlight that shines down on our state can indeed be harnessed to generate electricity. To take advantage of the sunlight, an array of solar panels is being constructed on 850 acres near 160th Street and Samson Avenue.

This setup, being built by Holliday Creek Solar LLC, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, will channel electricity into a nearby MidAmerican Energy substation, where it will enter the transmission grid. It will be the largest solar energy site in the MidAmerican Energy system.

Right now, a forest of upright supports fills the area. The solar panels, each measuring seven feet long and three and a half feet wide, will be mounted on those supports.

There will be 275,000 of those panels. Each of them will generate 440 watts of electricity.

All of those panels combined will produce 100 megawatts of electricity. That is enough to power 16,000 typical homes.

Think about that for a moment. This solar site will generate enough juice to power all the lights, appliances, computers, TVs and other electric devices found in 16,000 homes. And it will do it without burning a lump of coal or sending anything up a smokestack.

Essentially, the solar panels will just sit there and soak up the sun and usable electricity will result.

Webster County Supervisor Mark Campbell has previously said the county will be an exporter of energy when this facility comes on line. He described that as “incredibly exciting.”

Because such a big solar power station is totally new to the county there will inevitably be some complaints about it. Perhaps someone will gripe that the place looks weird or ugly.

We believe it is more important to focus on the bigger picture. This solar panel array will generate a lot of needed electricity without putting any pollution or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That’s something we can all benefit from.


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