We are one of the top producers of electricity from wind energy, but among the last in solar.
Linn County leaders have declared climate emergencies – but we need action. Approving solar farms in the county is a real step towards creating clean energy.
Renewables are expected to grow by 50% nationally over the next 30 years, but only if local projects, like the Duane Arnold Solar farm and Coggon Solar farm here in Linn County, are approved.
The solar farm would be developed on land voluntarily and temporarily leased by the owner.
The solar farm would have a footprint of .37% of total farmland in Linn County and less than .0004% of all Iowa farmland.
Energy from the Duane Arnold Solar Farm would go to Alliant Energy and power Iowa homes.
The solar company is responsible for decommissioning and returning the land to the same or better condition when the solar project is complete.
The project will be built on an old nuclear facility that still has a functioning substation and transmission lines which means that minimal new infrastructure will be required, meaning lower costs and less disruptions for people living near the solar farm.
Both projects, combined, would use less than 1% of Linn County farmland. That farmland is voluntarily leased to the projects by farmers, who are best suited to decide what is best for their land and families.
Solar panels are solid and sealed and cannot be penetrated by rainwater. In the same way the screens on the smartphones we carry with us all the time do not leak, solar panels do not leach.
At the end of the project the companies must remove all the panels and equipment and return the land to its original state.
As the Sierra Club states: Solar power “has no carbon emissions and NO other harmful toxic emissions, including mercury, lead and cadmium.”
Proper soil management during the project contributes to agricultural sustainability. Farmers can resume planting crops after decommissioning if they choose.
Power from both proposed Linn County solar farms will help power local Linn County residents. Coggon solar farm will flow to the Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative, and power from the Duane Arnold solar farm will serve Alliant customers in Iowa.
The construction of solar farms in Linn County is not funded by the government or taxpayers, but rather private companies making an investment in solar energy. No local tax dollars will be used to build these projects.
Many farmers who lease a portion of their land to solar companies are provided with financial security which allows them to continue to farm the rest of their land and keep the land in their family.
The developers have plans to control erosion and runoff by adding vegetation around the panels, as well as beautify the site with natural buffers. They’ve also set aside money to restore the land to the same or better condition it was in before, after the solar farm lease ends so the farmer can resume crop farming, if they wish.
The Duane Arnold Solar Farm will be built on an old nuclear energy facility that still has a functioning substation and transmission lines, which means that minimal new infrastructure will be required, resulting in lower costs and less disruptions for people living near the solar farm.
Linn County can only lead in solar energy and the fight for our climate if the Linn County Board of Supervisors support the Duane Arnold Solar and Coggon Solar farms!
let’s tell our local elected officials to support the future of clean solar energy in our county!