IOWA CITY, Iowa — Johnson County’s installation of two new solar arrays in Iowa City will triple the local government’s production of clean energy and save taxpayers money, officials said.

One array will be built next to the county administration building on the site of the former Johnson County Armory, The Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/2cm5FNX ) reports. The other array has already been added to the roof of the county’s Health and Human Services building.

Becky Soglin, Johnson County sustainability coordinator, said the two arrays will produce about 308,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.

“One-quarter of the electrical use by the administration building will be this clean, solar-generated energy,” Soglin said. “And for the Health and Human Services building, that rooftop array is expected to provide about 11 percent of the electrical energy needs of that building.”

Soglin said that the county’s investment in solar power must be paired with efforts to improve building efficiency so less energy overall is needed.

The new arrays are financed through power purchase agreements, meaning the county pays a lower rate to a third party while that company takes advantage of government tax credits for renewable energy and provides maintenance of the solar panels.

Two smaller arrays went live at the county’s secondary roads department last year.

Supervisor Mike Carberry said the county will continue to use solar and wind power where it is site-appropriate. He said he envisioned the creation of larger solar farms, possibly at the Johnson County Poor Farm. According to Carberry, the solar farm could produce more electricity than the facility uses and the excess could be sold back to the utility to offset the cost.


Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/