Alliant, DOE and IEDA Support Solar+Storage Solution


Alliant Energy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) have jointly supported an innovative solar+storage solution in Decorah, Iowa.

The project looks to seamlessly connect customer-owned solar while maintaining reliable electrical service across the community.

Battery storage is needed in Decorah because one electric circuit that serves the community will start to reach capacity as more customer-owned renewables are added. Until now, energy companies have had to either upgrade the grid in a community, which was expensive, or restrict the number of solar arrays that could be added in one area. Using battery storage to meet this challenge is just one of many applications which may lower customer costs.

“Energy storage technology presents immense opportunity to further harness and complement the state’s renewable energy resources and to foster a more efficient and resilient electric grid,” says Debi Durham, director of IEDA and the Iowa Finance Authority. 

“The shared involvement by such a diverse and talented mix of partners is sure to make this project a model for lessons learned and for similar future initiatives,” Durham adds.

The project is jointly supported by a $250,000 cost-share from the DOE’s Office of Electricity (DOE-OE) and a $200,000 grant from the IEDA. The battery will sit on land Alliant Energy leases from Decorah. 

Sandia National Laboratories is providing technical support for the project and will collect operational data. This data is critical to inform DOE’s national energy storage research as part of the DOE-OE Stationary Energy Storage Program under the direction of Dr. Imre Gyuk. Sandia’s assistance will help to ensure that the Decorah battery is sized, integrated and operated optimally to provide the most economic benefits. Iowa State University will also study the project.

The 2.5 MW, 2.922 MWh battery will serve as an “electron bank” to store excess solar power. It will store energy generated when the sun is most powerful and then release it in the evening when demand for electricity peaks. It will also provide valuable insight into the challenges of providing reliable and affordable electricity in areas with a concentration of customer-owned solar. Lessons learned from the Decorah pilot will inform similar, future battery projects.

The Decorah energy storage project is expected to be complete and in service by the end of the year. It will be the company’s third battery storage project in Iowa. 

A free DOE webinar on the project will be offered on July 30, at 12:00 p.m. CDT. Anyone interested in learning more can join by registering here.

Photo: Alliant Energy’s landing page

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