Bringing The Power of Solar to Waverly
on Friday, April 6, 2018
WAVERLY, Iowa (April 6, 2018) – The power of the sun is hard to fathom. In a single hour, the amount of solar power striking the earth provides more energy than the entire world consumes in a year.
Solar power is a clean, renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels such as oil and coal. It creates no pollution and helps combat greenhouse gas emissions.
Waverly Utilities is ready to harness a piece of that power with a community solar garden right here in Waverly.
Solar gardens are a grouping of community-owned solar panels (an array) in one location that collect solar power and turn it into energy.
“When you look at the numbers, solar power is the energy of the future,” said Darrel Wenzel, CEO of Waverly Utilities. “We’ve had it in our long-range plans for quite awhile, but were waiting for the solar panel pricing to balance out with the ROI.”
Encouraged by the success of the Simple Solar campaign in Cedar Falls, the team at Waverly Utilities began to seriously explore community solar garden options in 2017. A $20,000 grant from MEAN, Waverly’s wholesale energy supplier, covered the initial research and consulting costs. A focus group with WU constituents in late 2017 provided positive feedback for the project.
A solar garden in Waverly could produce an estimated 737,000 kilowatt hours, or enough to offset the CO2 emissions from 600,096 lbs of coal burned; the energy use of 59.2 homes in Waverly for one year; or the greenhouse gas emissions from 117 cars in one year. The ultimate goal of the community solar garden is to allow those who support a greener future for the world to do so, without impacting all ratepayers.
“We feel that Waverly is ready to step up and be a leader in the push towards solar,” said Wenzel. “We said all along that if it makes sense, and we can do it without impacting those who prefer not to participate, then we’d love to bring a solar garden to Waverly. Now we need to hear from our customers if this is what they want.”
Community solar gardens offer citizens an affordable and flexible way to use solar energy and support renewable resources. Benefits include:
• Clean energy at affordable pricing, offering pure, clean energy that is better for the environment. By sharing in a community solar garden, participants avoid the large up-front costs of individual roof-top systems.
• No rooftops needed, allowing customers with shaded roofs and renters to participate.
• No maintenance costs, as all installation and maintenance is handled by WU.
• One central location in the Waverly Industrial Park, near the railroad tracks and away from residential areas.
Waverly’s community solar garden would allow WU customers to invest in individual solar panels, currently estimated at $480 - $515 per panel, and receive a monthly credit on their bill for their portion of the electricity generated by the entire solar array. Solar credits are estimated at $1-$4 per panel monthly, with a lifespan of 20 years. WU estimates each solar panel potentially could be paid back in 20 years, however, there are no guarantees.
A final decision will be made in June 2018 as to the feasibility of the project, dependent on customer interest. Waverly Utilities is accepting pledges now.
“Waverly has always been community-focused and future-oriented,” said Wenzel. “This is a great opportunity for people to make a clear statement – by supporting solar energy, you’re helping make a difference for our future generations. Please submit your interest and pledges by May 5 to Waverly Utilities.”
Yard signs are available to show support for the project. To learn more or make a pledge to grow solar, visit waverlyutilities.com/solar or call 319-559-2000.