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posted on Thursday, September 7, 2023 in Company News

WAVERLY, Iowa (September 6, 2023) – Waverly Utilities (WU) has entered into an agreement with Sandhills Energy to build a state-of-the-art 4-megawatt solar generation facility that will produce an estimated five percent of the utility’s electricity. Per the partnership, Sandhills Energy will own and maintain the equipment, while WU will retain ownership of the land.

The utility will make a modest investment in an appropriate transformer and pay a very competitive rate for the solar-generated electricity it uses. Sandhills Energy will be financially responsible for everything else - from providing building and maintaining the solar equipment to planting and maintaining low-growth pollinator habitat on the site.

There will be no increase in cost to WU’s customers with the solar addition. Solar-generated electricity will simply become part of the overall power mix.

“This is a unique opportunity for a city the size of Waverly to offer solar to our customers at competitive rates without bearing the construction and maintenance costs ourselves,” said WU Board of Trustee Chair Bob Buckingham. “We’ve been working towards this for a while, and we’re excited to explore the possibilities of solar for the community of Waverly.”

WU’s new solar generation facility will be located off Highway 3 between Waverly and Shell Rock on approximately 24 utility-owned acres. Its 4-megawatt capacity will generate up to 6.5 million kilowatt hours of WU customers’ electricity every year.

Seasonality will be only a minor factor, as WU’s new solar arrays will be able to reliably generate electricity even when partially covered by snow.

As WU moves to diversify its power mix, solar is an important component,” said WU Interim General Manager Curt Atkins. “With the decommissioning of our hydro units in 2022, the new solar array will more than replace what the hydro’s produced.”

WU will complete the electrical infrastructure work by the end of 2023.  Sandhills Energy is tentatively scheduled to complete their portion by the end of 2024.