Alliant Energy plans big solar farm in Iowa

May 20, 2017 GMT

Alliant Energy Corp. plans to build a big solar farm in Dubuque, Iowa, that will dwarf its Wisconsin solar projects.

Madison-based Alliant said Thursday thatsite preparation is underway at the Dubuque Industrial Center West, on the city’s northwest side, for more than 15,600 solar panels that will cover about 22 acres.

The panels are expected to generate as much as 5 megawatts of electricity at peak times. Over the course of a year, they will produce about as much electricity as 727 typical Iowa households use in a year, Alliant said.

In a collaboration with the city of Dubuque and the Greater Dubuque Development Corp., Alliant will shoulder the $10 million cost, utility spokesman Justin Foss said.

The site slopes south which makes it ideal for a solar installation, Foss said. “It’s like stadium seating for the solar panels,” he said.

The Dubuque project is Alliant’s largest solar project to date and is expected to start operating in August. Alliant also plans a 3,500-panel, 1.2-megawatt solar installation near downtown Dubuque.

In Wisconsin, Alliant is buying power from the 2.3-megawatt Rock River solar installation, owned by Hanwha Q CELLS, at the natural gas-fired Riverside power plant near Beloit, and plans to build its own 2-megawatt solar project, also at Riverside. The utility has a solar demonstration project outside its Madison headquarters.