Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Ernst visits Ideal Energy to discuss Iowa’s leadership role in solar energy

Aug 23, 2017
PHOTO SUBMITTED Sen. Joni Ernst visits Schaus-Vorhies Solar Field with Ideal Energy founders Troy and Amy Van Beek.

Sen. Joni Ernst made a stop in Fairfield Thursday to visit Ideal Energy Inc. and tour one of the largest solar arrays in the state.

During her visit, the senator spoke with Ideal Energy founder Troy Van Beek about Iowa’s leadership role in the nation’s growing clean energy economy. Iowa is at the forefront of utility-scale wind projects and in recent years has seen explosive growth in solar installations among utilities, businesses and homeowners.

Ernst also toured Schaus-Vorhies Manufacturing’s half-megawatt solar field, which provides 100 percent of the business’s energy needs and puts a formerly contaminated Environmental Protection Agency cleanup site to productive use. The solar field was designed and built by Ideal Energy and is one of the largest privately owned solar arrays in Iowa.

“Iowa is leading the Midwest’s clean energy economy because of strong leadership from our politicians, businesses, homeowners, and utilities,” said Van Beek. “There still is a lot to do to prepare for the future — and we want to remain on the forefront. I want to see Iowa as a net exporter of clean energy, with 100 percent or more of our energy production coming from renewables.”

At the end of 2016, 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties had installed solar projects benefiting from Iowa’s solar tax credit, and the state had more distributed solar installed than neighboring Midwest states with a total of 41.8 megawatts. Van Beek encouraged Ernst to continue supporting both distributed generation and utility-scale renewable energy projects in the state.

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