Loebsack: Solar energy brings benefits to Iowa

Congressman Dave Loebsack visited Ideal Energy?s office Friday to discuss emerging technologies, legislative challenges, and Ideal Energy?s history with Troy Van Beek, founder of Ideal Energy; Amy Van Beek, director of marketing; and Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy.

Loebsack, a proponent of solar energy, said, ?We?re creating an environment for businesses and folks who want to come in [to Iowa] from the outside.?

He extolled the benefits solar brings to Iowa, including attracting out-of-state investment, bringing new residents to the state, and allowing businesses to reinvest solar savings into their employees.

?I?m happy that we can improve the environment,? he said, ?but the first thing I talk about is jobs.?

Loebsack also inquired about new developments in the solar industry, particularly battery energy storage systems. Ideal Energy is at the forefront of energy storage in the Midwest and installed the first commercial-scale solar + storage system in the state at Stuff Etc?s Coralville location.

Solar + storage systems, like the one installed at Stuff Etc, allow businesses to substantially reduce their utility bills with ?peak shaving,? a technique for ensuring electricity demand doesn?t exceed a threshold that would trigger expensive demand charges. Batteries charge when solar panels produce surplus energy and automatically discharge when electricity demand is at its highest.

Loebsack asked about the impact of legislation, including the recent solar cell and module tariff, state and federal tax incentives, and the future of the Clean Power Plan. Although some legislation favorable to solar companies and their customers is in danger of being rolled back, Loebsack assured the group that ?some of us fight very hard for these things.?