More than 1,200 Cedar Falls Utilities’ (CFU) customers have invested in a new 1.5 MW community solar project, located near Prairie Lakes Park in Cedar Falls, Iowa, built by SunLink Corp. and RER Energy Group (RER).
According to a joint release, the project utilized SunLink’s GeoPro mounting system and was installed by the company’s PowerCare installation crews. RER and partner company Sunvestment Energy Group (SEG) provided the project development, project management and financing for this community solar array.
“Community solar projects have been identified as the next largest solar growth market in the U.S., and SunLink is at the forefront of helping to accelerate this movement with flexible mounting solutions and installation services that extend our partners’ ability to take on a larger volume of small commercial and community solar projects, like this one in Iowa,” says Michael Maulick, SunLink’s CEO.
“RER and SEG made the development of this community solar project simple, from project design to installation and financing, and we commend their ability to advance this project on such a rapid timeline,” Maulick adds.
As stated in the joint release, the CFU Simple Solar community solar initiative was met with enthusiasm from CFU customers from the very beginning. The solar unit price was decreased from $399 to $270, thanks to economies of scale. Customers who purchased units will receive a monthly credit on their CFU electric bills for 20 years based on the panels’ output, according to the two companies, and all of the clean energy from the solar project is to be used within the community.
According to SunLink, its GeoPro fixed-tilt solution solves a wide-range of challenges associated with ground-mount projects, including irregular site boundaries, steep or uneven terrain, last-minute module changes, pile driving refusals, and snow loads of up to 50 psf.
“Installing solar in harsh environmental conditions, such as wintertime in Iowa, requires collaborative and adaptive on-site management to uphold the quality and safety standards the PowerCare team is known for,” says Keith Beisner, SunLink’s senior manager of field services.
“For the CFU install, accurate on-site troubleshooting and rapid engineering responses were critical to mitigate post refusals in frozen soil, for example, illustrating the effectiveness of our team to get the job done right and on time,” added Beisner.