Solar Suitability Rating High Throughout Iowa
Andy Johnson, Executive Director
It is abundantly clear that we need more large-scale solar (and storage) to complement the high penetration of large-scale wind in Iowa and promote a cleaner and more reliable grid. Yet the siting of utility solar projects has become increasingly difficult, thanks to a vocal minority of anti-renewable advocates that appear to be increasingly politically motivated and often funded by fossil fuel interests.
The University of Iowa’s Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative recently hosted Solar Energy In Iowa: Policies And Practices At The Municipal, County, And State Levels (videos coming soon).The three panels with 4-5 speakers each provided an excellent discussion of the challenges and opportunities in our state. Clean Energy Districts of Iowa Executive Director, Andy Johnson, discussed land use issues, debunked corn suitability rating as a siting criteria in favor of solar suitability rating, and encouraged developers and landowners to work together on “savanna solar” projects. Savanna solar – similar to practices also known as agrivoltaics – hold potential to combine solar, agriculture, conservation, recreation, and wildness in Iowa’s rich, multi-functional rural landscapes.