Cedar Falls’ first community solar project will be larger and less expensive, thanks to the strong response from households and organizations that signed up to participate.
During the summer enrollment campaign, Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) electric customers were offered units in the solar project for $399 each. Because of high enrollment, CFU will build a larger project with better economies of scale. As a result, the final price per unit for those who signed up will be reduced from $399 to $270.
More than 1,200 residents and businesses have signed up to be a part of Simple Solar. Customers who purchase units will receive a utility bill credit based upon the output from the panels for twenty years. Total capacity of the array will be 1.5 MW. It will be the biggest community solar project in the state.
“We want to thank the community for their response to Simple Solar,” said CFU General Manager Jim Krieg. “Because so many of our customers decided to invest in solar energy, we are able to deliver a project that will provide flexible, clean energy at an excellent price.”
The project will be built near Prairie Lakes Park in Cedar Falls on eight acres donated by the city of Cedar Falls. Construction will begin this fall, and the solar project is expected to be operational by the spring.
The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) has committed to purchasing approximately 20% of the project, a significant investment in renewable energy.
"UNI is excited to add to our inventory of solar energy with the Simple Solar project and further our sustainability efforts," said John Streicher, senior facilities engineer for UNI's Physical Plant. "We are pleased our continued collaboration with CFU helped make the Simple Solar project a success."
“We appreciate UNI partnering with us to build Simple Solar,” said Krieg. “Their investment in this project is an important part of making community solar a success in Cedar Falls. UNI’s commitment to alternative energy will allow us to maximize the solar output from this site.”
RER Energy Group is the solar developer that will build the array. “The manner in which they funded this project, through considerable customer participation, illustrates the cutting-edge thinking that is prevalent at CFU," stated Mike Barnes, Project Manager for RER Energy Group. “Being a resident of Cedar Falls, there is a significant amount of pride working on a local project that I’m sure will have national repercussions in the solar industry.”
Customers who signed up for units will receive information, including a purchase agreement, in the mail this fall. If customers are still interested in buying units, CFU is adding customers to a wait list. CFU will provide information to customers on the wait list after those who have reserved units complete the enrollment process.
Call 319-266-1761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the Simple Solar unit wait list.
Simple Solar Facts:
· CFU and a solar project developer will build and maintain a community-solar project near Prairie Lakes Park in Cedar Falls.
· 1,200 CFU customers have signed up for units in the project. Units are 170 watts of capacity and are now priced at $270 each.
· The clean energy from the solar panels will be used in the community.
· Residents and businesses that have purchased units will receive a monthly credit on their CFU electric bills for 20 years based on the output from the solar panels.
· For more information, customers can visit cfu.net/solar or call 319-266-1761.