Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

State Auditor releases report reviewing solar energy projects at public entities

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.

Click here to read the full report.

State Auditor releases report reviewing solar energy projects at public entities | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now