It is a smart choice for our customers! And it positions us to achieve carbon emission goals thereby creating a healthier environment for all. Our Clean Energy Blueprint is our roadmap to accelerate our transition to renewable energy. In fact, investment in solar cost-effectively accelerates our renewable energy generation while reducing carbon emissions and providing customers with reliable, environmentally friendly energy long into the future.
There are several reasons we are accelerating our transition to solar now, including:
Solar projects create new jobs from construction through operation.
The declining costs to build solar.
In addition, the communities we serve will benefit from sustainable and innovative energy solutions. Many large industrial customers and communities have their own corporate sustainability goals. Increasing renewable energy availability keeps businesses in the area and attracts more.
Clean energy development like solar helps promote economic growth in rural communities. Solar helps attract new businesses looking to achieve sustainability goals and benefit from lower cost clean energy. Furthermore, construction of solar projects creates new job opportunities for local labor.
Numerous local and national studies have shown that clean energy projects do not reduce nearby property values. We’ve published an article titled "Does Solar Energy Impact Property Values?" This article goes into more detail about what we currently know about solar projects and property values.
We develop a decommissioning plan for each project that addresses the removal of equipment and allows the owner to determine how they’d like to begin using their land (e.g., return to farming, keep the land as pollinator habitat or identify new uses). All equipment will be recycled using the best technology available at the end of the lease.
Similar to a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), solar projects are typically planted with native grasses and wildflowers that improve soil and water quality and can be an important habitat for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which make nearby farms more productive. Solar projects will create the same benefits of implementing a CRP. Check out this article from Ag Week for more information.
Many farmers are interested in diversifying their income. Leasing some of their property to solar projects creates a guaranteed source of income that lasts decades. Solar projects complement agriculture by helping farmers protect their way of life and bank the land for future agricultural use. In addition, our solar lease agreements include a binding commitment that we return the land to the owner in the same or better condition. Our article titled "Preserving the Land for Future Agriculture Use" has more information.
We have not used eminent domain to acquire land for any of our proposed solar projects in Wisconsin and have no plans to use it in Iowa. We work with willing landowners and farmers who voluntarily choose to participate. We then work collaboratively with them to develop renewable energy projects that work in harmony with their land and the environment. Hear from a landowner at our Beaver Dam Solar Project and why he decided to lease his land to Alliant Energy.
Solar facilities are very quiet, and very little noise can be heard outside of the project boundary. Single-axis trackers make little noise when they move with the sun throughout the day. There will be little to no glint or glare impacts. Panels are designed to absorb as much sunlight as possible to generate maximum power.
Solar projects do not create electromagnetic fields that could be measured outside of a project. Inverters used in solar facilities generate electromagnetic fields that are similar to household appliances, many times weaker than those created by normal power lines. The weak electromagnetic fields from solar equipment can only be detected within around 150 feet of a solar farm’s inverters, which will not reach close to the project boundary. See our article titled "Solar Energy Myths: EMF Radiation and Sound" for more information.
Solar projects do not pose a threat to wildlife. Wildlife studies are an important part of solar development. Trained experts study proposed sites to ensure that solar development minimizes impact to wildlife.
Fencing is installed around the perimeter of the solar site to help keep larger mammals like deer away from any wiring within the arrays that could harm them. Solar projects also provide important habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies that make farmland more productive. See the article "A Perfect Place for Pollinators" for more information.