NEWS

7 things to know about Cedar Rapids' newest solar installations

A solar array is installed which will power the booster station off of Chandler Street SW in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A solar array is installed which will power the booster station off of Chandler Street SW in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Solar arrays are going up at three locations in Cedar Rapids. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Solar arrays are being installed near water towers at the corner of Glass and Wenig Road NW, Oklahoma Avenue and Kirkwood Boulevard SW, Chandler Street SW near Jefferson High School.

2. Work was nearly finished at the Glass site, which is awaiting electric hookups and fencing. Pallets are on site but work has yet to begin at Oklahoma and Kirkwood. Installation was ongoing for the array near Jefferson on Wednesday. The electricity is expected to begin flowing some time in September.

3. The arrays will provide 85 percent of the electricity at Glass, 60 percent at Chandler, and 20 percent at Oklahoma to power the nearby drinking water booster stations. The stations reamplify the water pressure coming the water treatment plant before reaching homes, business and fire hydrants.

4. The project has come to life under a power purchase agreement signed by Eagle Point Solar of Dubuque and the city of Cedar Rapids. Eagle Point is paying for and installing the arrays, and the city of Cedar Rapids agreed to buy the energy produced. Power purchase agreements were made legal by a 2014 Iowa Supreme Court ruling.

5. Eagle Point will own and maintain the arrays for 25 years, after which ownership will transfer to the city for no or low cost, according to Eagle Point. The arrays have a 45 year life span, according to Eagle Point.

6. The cost of the electricity will be 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is less than the 1.225 cents per kWh paid on average to Alliant Energy. The rate will increase 2.5 percent annually to Eagle Point, which city officials and Eagle Point say is less on average than annual Alliant increase. Alliant increases have not yet been determined.

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7. City and Eagle Point officials said the three arrays combined will save the city $10,100 in the first year. Over the 25 year length of the agreement, in which Eagle Point will own the solar arrays, Cedar Rapids is projected to save $298,000.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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