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ILEC cuts ribbon on solar array project

By Staff | Oct 30, 2016

The future’s so bright you know the rest of the song.

At Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, “the future’s so bright” is more than just a saying.

On Thursday, ILEC held a dedication and ribbon cutting for its new solar energy demonstration project.

A joint effort between the cooperative at the City of Estherville, the solar modules installed next to the ILEC headquarters on the south entrance of Estherville is expected to produce and 214,000 an d 249,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually.

A large crowd of those who helped with the project along with local officials and ILEC employees attended the dedication ceremony.

ILEC Board Chairman Jerry Beck welcomed all those who attended and acknowledged the board members.

ILEC CEO Rick Olesen noted the ground that the solar project is on is city property.

Estherville City Administrator Penny Clayton was one of the keynote speakers.

“Estherville will be known as an innovative place. A place that embraces sustainability and a place that encourages independence,” Clayton said. “The city is honored to be a partner in this solar array project with a long-time lease on this piece of land.”

Scotty Price with Wind and Solar Specialists of Alta, the contractor for the project, said construction on the project began in April and then went online on Oct. 3 and it was commissioned and producing power about 5 o’clock in the afternoon.”

The solar arrays have reached nameplate capacity of 140 kilowatts.

Olesen concluded by noting it is fitting that this dedication occurred in October as it is National Electric Cooperative Month.

“We can see the world is changing and the energy landscape is changing,” said Olesen. “One thing that won’t has not changed is Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative’s commitment to serve its member-owners.”