Winneshiek County Leads in Solar!

Winneshiek County topped all other Iowa counties in residential solar installations in 2014, according to figures from the Iowa Department of Revenue. The county is likely in the top five for commercial installations (click on the image for a pdf showing both maps).

“It’s absolutely amazing, that Winneshiek County comes out ahead of even the metropolitan counties with populations so much larger,” said Kyra Bellrichard, with Business and Community Solutions at Northeast Iowa Community College, and a Winneshiek Energy District Board member. “It’s a real testament to the combination of local leadership, ongoing training programs, innovative contractor base, and a forward-thinking community.”

The 2014 maps showing installations at the county level were obtained by the Iowa Environmental Council from the Iowa Department of Revenue. They’re based on solar system owners filing for the Iowa solar energy tax credit, and so though likely inclusive of the bulk of installed systems, may not represent 100% of installations.

“Nobody likes being second, or fifth” said Andy Johnson, Director of the Energy District, “so we do have some work to do in the commercial category.” One major opportunity according to Johnson is on-farm solar, and the District is now offering farm energy planning throughout six counties in Northeast Iowa. “In fact, we have a farm solar workshop planned for April 10 with our partners at NICC and the Dairy Foundation, and all farmers interested in solar are encouraged to attend.” Registration is required but free, and workshop information and registration info can be found at the District’s web site.

“NICC has been offering solar PV contractor trainings for years, so we’re proud to be part of this strong local movement”, said Bellrichard. “The college is also one of many local public institutions currently analyzing the opportunity for installing solar PV to generate a part of our electricity needs.”

“The time is now, and the benefits to pocketbooks and the local economy are strong” said Johnson. “Using local contractors and local capital to build locally-owned renewable energy is a win all round for our communities and for future generations.”

An interactive map including roughly 100 local solar installations, and a listing of local solar contractors, can also be found on the District’s web site.

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