Costs and climate are driving RECs to new technologies such as solar parks business & agriculture

A solar farm in Adams County is part of the Southwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative. The new systems are driven by cost and environmental issues.

Courtesy Southwest Iowa REC via Iowa Farmer Today

Jeff DeYoung
Iowa Farmer Today

CORNING – Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs) will continue to use new technology to power rural Iowans.

Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular as solar parks shape the landscape. This includes a large solar farm east of this community in southwest Iowa.

The Adams County solar farm is part of the Southwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative, a utility company with 2,500 miles of power lines in 11 counties.

The cooperative is one of 13 members of their supply group, said CEO Phil Kinser. He said the Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) is the wholesale supplier of electricity.

“We use coal, wind, sun and some hydropower,” said Kinser, adding that CIPCO has six solar parks that are used to generate electricity.

Based in Cedar Rapids, CIPCO transfers power to 13 member-owned cooperatives, including Southwest Iowa REC. There are nearly 300,000 members in 58 of the 99 Iowa counties.

“CIPCO is buying the entire production of the solar park,” said Kinser.

He said there are several drivers for the increasing use of newer systems. This includes cost and environmental aspects, said Kinser.

“A lot of our members have asked about such things and we want to make sure they are affordable,” he said.

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