State Auditor Rob Sand released a report this week reviewing solar energy projects at Iowa’s schools, cities and other public entities.
The 15-page report, titled Financial Impacts of Public Entity Solar Installations, found an average annual savings of more than $26,000. The average savings over the lifetime of the installation is a projected $716,437. A total of 80 communities are currently using solar energy installations across the state according to the report.
“If each county, each county seat, and each school district created a solar installation of the average size of these installations, over the installations’ lifetimes Iowa taxpayers could expect to net over $375 million in savings,” reads the report.
The State Auditor’s Office reached out to Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association and received a list of all public sector solar projects. They then randomly selected 27 projects from that list of over 100. Of those, 13 responded to the questions and gave their approval to be published.
The most cost-effective solar project listed on the report is in Mason City. In 2020, Mason City reached agreements with Blue Sky Solar out of Dubuque to place solar panels at its multipurpose arena, Mason City Municipal Airport and waste-water treatment plant. The projected cost savings of the project are $82,000 a year and just over $2 million over 25 years.