UNI event focuses on solar energy


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Nick Fetty | June 4, 2015

An upcoming event at the University of Northern Iowa aims to educate the public about solar energy, its economic feasibility, and other related topics.

The Solar Energy Fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Center for Energy & Environmental Education on the UNI campus. The event “is intended to make solar energy accessible and easy to find; to connect businesses and homeowners with local and regional solar installers and contractors; and to show that solar energy systems are available, practical and cost-effective.

Scheduled speakers include Mike Barnes of Hawkeye Community College, Warren McKenna of Farmers Electric Co-op, and Pete Olson of Cedar Falls Utilities as well as representatives from the UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education and the Iowa Waste Reduction Center.

The event coincides with an announcement by Cedar Falls Utilities to construct a solar energy garden expected to produce roughly 500 kilowatts of energy which is enough to power about 100 homes for a year. The project – Simple Solar – will take up as many as 8 acres in Prairie Lakes Park, about three miles south of the UNI campus. Cedar Falls residents can purchase a share of the garden for $399. The utility is providing about 3,000 shares with each share expected to provide about 2.5 percent of an average home’s electricity consumption. Construction on the project is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

Saturday’s event is free and open to the public. Funding was provided by the Iowa Energy Center.

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