DES MOINES, IOWA (February 26, 2021) — State Auditor Rob Sand announced a review of solar-energy projects at Iowa’s schools, cities, and other public entities. A total of eighty communities are currently using solar-energy installations across the state. Those participating in this review reported annual savings as high as $80,000. The average annual savings was more than $26,475, and the average savings over the lifetime of the installation was $716,437.
If each county, each county seat, and each school district created a solar installation of the average size of these installations, over the installations’ lifetimes Iowa taxpayers could expect to net over $375 million in savings.
Local entities describe their solar-energy programs as cost-effective, environmentally-sound, and a source of pride. In one school district, the savings equaled a teaching position. In another, the savings allowed the district to keep the school open and avoid consolidation. Cities like Knoxville teamed up with their school district for joint savings, freeing up dollars in the General Fund for other uses. Mason City calls its solar program a “win-win” by reducing its carbon footprint and operation costs.
The solar recommendation report is available for review on the Auditor of State’s web site at https://auditor.iowa.gov/audit-reports.
Investments in energy-efficiency can compound savings from renewable-energy sources. Interested in other ways to save tax-payer funds through efficiency? Check out our new Public Innovation and Efficiency (PIE) program at: https://www.auditor.iowa.gov/pie/pie-online.