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MidAmerican installs sixth and largest solar project in Iowa

MidAmerican Energy has completed its 100-megawatt Holliday Creek solar array, the company’s largest of six inaugural solar projects that it began placing online starting in January.

The Webster County project’s 265,000 solar panels can generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 19,000 average Iowa homes.

The six solar energy sites range from 3 MW to 100 MW. In addition to the Webster County site, MidAmerican added arrays in Adair, Franklin, Johnson and Woodbury counties, and in the city of Waterloo.

“This year opens up a new chapter for us in MidAmerican’s growing renewable energy fleet that delivers clean, low-cost, sustainable domestic energy to our customers,” said Mike Fehr, senior vice president of renewable generation and compliance in a news relase.

MidAmerican operates the largest wind energy fleet of any investor-owned utility in the nation. Through the company’s GreenAdvantage program, which applies to all MidAmerican electric customers in Iowa at no additional cost to them, the company enables every customer to claim a verified renewable energy amount, which in 2021, was 88.5%.

“Our latest and largest solar array is a timely addition to our renewables fleet,” Fehr said. “When our customers use their air conditioners to keep cool on hot and sunny summer afternoons, solar energy is typically at or near its greatest output. When coupled with our wind fleet, MidAmerican’s customers receive the benefits of renewable energy throughout the year.”

MidAmerican’s proposed Wind PRIME project would raise MidAmerican’s GreenAdvantage figure to 100% by enabling the company to provide renewable energy equal to its Iowa customers’ annual usage upon completion in 2025. The project, which is pending before the Iowa Utilities Board, would add more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar energy.

MidAmerican installs sixth and largest solar project in Iowa | 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
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