Mar 6, 2024 - News

Iowa Events Center solar project could top $7M+

A photo of the Iowa Events Center.

Wells Fargo Arena's roof could become a new solar field under an idea being explored by Polk County Supervisors. Photo: Courtesy of the Iowa Events Center

A new solar field stationed primarily on the roofs of Iowa Events Center (IEC) buildings would cost between $6.9 and $8.8 million, according to estimates recently obtained by Polk County Supervisors.

Why it matters: The field would produce as much as 3.5 megawatts for county facilities — the equivalent to powering more than 3,000 homes.

  • Wells Fargo Arena could also become one of the first arenas in the nation to adopt large-scale solar, potentially setting Polk County as a leader in how to better use government buildings to lower operation costs, IEC general manager Chris Connolly tells Axios.

Catch up fast: The IEC complex of downtown buildings is owned by Polk County and includes Wells Fargo Arena, Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center and Hy-Vee Hall.

  • Their roofs cover much of a six-acre campus.

Zoom in: The solar idea began about two years ago as county supervisors discussed IEC improvements and goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

State of play: The estimates include creating premium parking near some IEC entrances that would use solar canopies to shade cars and offer EV charging ports.

  • The county's exploratory process is ongoing, county administrator John Norris tells Axios, and estimates do not include federal incentives that could offset costs.

The big picture: The U.S. Department of Energy provides guidance for local governments to integrate solar into their facilities.

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