The sun and wind are the focus of two alternative energy study projects that have won grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. Kelley Myers of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says one project being built on a converted former warehouse building in Cedar Rapids will produce 7200 watts of solar energy. She says they’ll put a solar array on top of the building to produce some of the energy used by the building. She says it’s not a big array, but it’s part of reclaiming the “Brownfield” area where the building is located. Myers says there’ll be an educational kiosk on the street that’ll give information about what’s happening on top of the building. She says Alliant Energy and the Iowa Renewable Energy Association are partners that helped secure the $65,000 grant for the project. She says Iowa has great solar potential, with several active solar arrays in the state and she says they’re excited to showcase this latest solar array. Another project will use large towers to measure the wind.It’ll be a three-year study to see how winds at higher altitudes. She says not enough is known about how the winds react to use them. Myers says the federal grant is for $125,000 and will go along with $430,000 provided by the Iowa Energy Center. Three other grants were given to help teach about renewable energy in colleges and study energy efficient homebuilding technology. Myers says all the projects will help the state stay on the leading edge of renewable energy use. She says that’s been the goal of the energy office to promote energy independence and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. She says they also want to make the state an exporter of renewable energy.
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