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Bloomfield takes another step toward energy independence

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in Bloomfield on Wednesday.

The City of Bloomfield, along with Governor Kim Reynolds, cut the ribbon on the largest tracking solar array in Iowa on Wednesday.

The project is part of the city’s initiative to be energy independent by 2030.

This project underscores how good public policy helps spur investment and create benefits for Iowa residents and businesses because it was made possible by the state’s production tax credit program, also known as 476C.

“The City of Bloomfield is proud to unveil our new solar array today that gets us one step closer to our energy independence goal,” said Chris Ball, Community Development Director for City of Bloomfield. “The solar array would not have been possible without the state’s production tax credit program, which has since expired. I encourage the legislature to extend and modernize the program to allow other communities to invest in energy innovation for the benefit of their citizens and businesses.”

The solar array includes 5,400 solar panels and will generate 1.86 MW of power, enough to cover 10 percent of the city’s energy needs.

“Programs like the 476C production tax credit foster tremendous solar growth for Iowa. It’s policies like this we need to hold in place for the development of community owned solar projects like this one here in Bloomfield,” said Tim Dwight, President of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association. “Repowering our local communities in Iowa creates major benefits on many levels, including low-cost energy for Iowans, grid security, job growth and diversified energy portfolios.”

More than 800 Iowans are employed in Iowa’s solar industry, including more than 35 employees at Fairfield-based Simpleray that installed the solar project. The solar industry has also spurred development in all 99 counties and created more than $166 million in private capital investment through the state’s upfront solar tax incentive.

“The City of Bloomfield's solar project is a pioneering initiative many years in the making. It demonstrates how even a small Iowa town can achieve a sustainable future for their residents,” said Tyler Anderson, President of Simpleray. “My team is proud of the part we played in helping Bloomfield become more energy independent - but ultimately it took Bloomfield's vision and dedication to make this project a reality.

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