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WIPCO will expand solar co-op to Onawa, Iowa, area

WIPCO will expand solar co-op to Onawa, Iowa, area

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DENISON, Iowa | Siouxland is getting a little brighter, courtesy of the Western Iowa Power Cooperative.

The co-op plans to build a solar array, similar to its 750-panel setup in Denison, in Onawa, Iowa, in 2016. WIPCO will have a meeting for subscribers on Friday at its Denison office.

The meeting will show subscribers how the solar array works. It will also inform them on the benefits of using solar energy, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The Denison array produces 356,181 kilowatts a year with panels covering half an acre of land.

Stephanie Wiese, WIPCO’s director of member services, said the co-op not only offers solar energy for its members but also sells and installs solar equipment for anyone in Iowa.

“We’re the only co-op in Iowa that will install onsite solar at your location,” she said.

However, some locations might not be conducive to solar panel installation, which is why subscribing to WIPCO’s panels may be a better option. Not having to remove trees or make space for a panel and the necessary equipment is part of what makes the co-op system attractive to some homeowners.

Members can subscribe for 20 years to use as little as half of a panel, Wiese said. There's no limit to how many panels one can subscribe to. Each panel is 410 watts and will generate approximately 425 kilowatt hours annually.

Members receive a monthly production credit on their bill equal to how much energy their percentage of subscribed panels produced that period.

Any unused credit toward a bill is rolled over to the next month.

“By having solar energy through the co-op, you don’t have to insure a solar panel system, or maintain it yourself or pay property tax on it,” Wiese said.

The co-op is an effort to make renewable energy as financially accessible as possible, Wiese said. Installments are possible for as low as $23 a month. Of the 750 panels in Denison, 373 are still available.

Members can sign up for a 12-month or 24-month period without interest.

Members also know they’re cutting back on pollution through using less fossil fuels, Wiese said.

“The Denison site has eliminated 285 tons of CO2 emissions in its first year,” she said.

For more information on the co-op, go to wipco.com.

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