Governor Visits CITY to Discuss Sustainability Efforts
Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg visited CITY Thurs., August 31. The visit included a tour of the Oelwein laundering facility that highlighted CITY’s latest innovation initiatives.
These initiatives include the recent install of solar panels across CITY’s roof, an LED lighting conversion, and a water filtration system investment. These combined projects make CITY a green-initiative leader in their industry.
CITY’s solar panel project was the highlight of the governor’s visit. With over 850 solar panels and over eight and half miles of wiring, the project will produce over 400,000 kilowatt-hours on an annual basis.
“Solar energy is a reinvestment in the company that will last nearly 50 years. We always want to make decisions that are long term…that’s why we’ve been able to be here for so long,” Colin Wetlaufer, CITY President, said. “We are always looking for investments that impact our future.”
Including CITY, three Iowa-based companies were present during the visit. Moxie Solar from North Liberty and Sitler’s Supplies from Washington were both invited. Moxie Solar installed the solar panels at CITY, and Sitler’s Supplies installed the LED lighting back in 2014. Together, these two installations provide a tremendous degree of energy efficiency at CITY.
Moxie Solar presented CITY with the solar energy project a year ago, and it is expected to replace two-thirds of CITY’s annual electric usage. This makes it the largest privately held company in the state of Iowa to utilize solar energy.
“At just over 300 kilowatts, this is the largest roof mount of any kind in the state of Iowa. This is an even larger deal considering this array was built for a privately held company vs. a large city or municipality,” said Jason Hall, CEO and founder of Moxie Solar. “It’s really a significant milestone”
This partnership with CITY is also Moxie’s largest solar project to date.
“This project is one that is special to Moxie Solar, not simply because of its size but because we are working with good people like us; intelligent, hard-working, passionate people who are unapologetic about being “Iowa Nice,” Hall said. “The relationship between Moxie Solar and CITY is one that sets a new bar for all companies in our respective industries in the Midwest,” Hall said.
“Working with two other Iowa-based businesses has been great. We invited Moxie and Sitler’s to promote the best image,” Wetlaufer said. “And we did it together.”
Wetlaufer added that the local utility provider, Alliant Energy, offered a progressive “interconnection agreement” making solar energy more affordable. When the solar panels produce more electricity than is being used, the CITY’s meter will run backwards. This process allows Alliant Energy to redistribute the leftover energy throughout the local community.
“Having the net-metering agreement made the economics of the project a lot more viable,” Wetlaufer said.
Over the next 25 years, this solar panel system is estimated to offset, 14,629,682 pounds of CO2 (Greenhouse Gas) or the equivalence of 1,395 passenger vehicles off the road, 2,377 tons of waste sent to landfills, or 7,217, 712 pounds of coal burned.
“We have been a business and an employer in Oelwein for over 112 years, and these solar panels are warrantied to last another couple of decades. We are going to continue to be here for the long haul, and we are working on the next 100 years,” Wetlaufer said.