Iowa State University Finishes Construction of On-Campus Solar Farm

Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, recently gained a new 1,375-MW solar farm on its campus through a partnership with Alliant Energy, according to a news release. Alliant installed 3,300 solar panels on campus that will generate energy and provide opportunities for education, agriculture research, and more. The facility is set up across 10 acres used for the university’s animal science teaching and research farms.

“The Alliant Energy Solar Farm at Iowa State University represents an innovative public-private partnership that broadens our portfolio of renewable energy used to power the university,” said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen. “Thanks to our Alliant Energy partners, the solar farm also will serve as a one-of-a-kind agricultural setting for our faculty, staff and students to explore solar energy topics through research, education and extension and outreach.”

The farm is also part of the Alliant Energy Customer-Hosted Renewables program, which generates credits that the university can use to offset a portion of its carbon emissions. The university has also received a $1.8-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that will allow university researchers to raise bees and plant fruits and vegetables in the space. Researchers will create and maintain a pollinator habitat to study the impact of energy generation on beekeeping and horticultural production, the news release reports.

“The Alliant Energy Solar Farm at ISU is our company’s first customer-hosted solar project to complete construction in Iowa, as well as the first to incorporate agrivoltaics,” said Mayuri Farlinger, vice president of customer and community engagement at Alliant Energy. “We are proud this solar farm will advance the concept of agrivoltaics—that land can be used for energy production and agriculture, simultaneously. This project advances our mission to deliver the energy solutions our customers and communities can count on in a unique way.”

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Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].