Future Forward Thinking: Solar Park Installed at Kay Park Rec in Janesville – Cedar Valley Daily Times

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By Kathy Sundstedt

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Things are happening in Janesville, Iowa. A new bridge and new library were 2023 highlights, and 2024 ushers in a new solar park.

One of this area’s largest solar parks has been installed at Kay Park Rec Inc. located on Janesville’s south side. The 638 solar cell modules arrayed in seven rows are forecast to generate 438,000 kilowatts of green energy per year, and meet all of the business’s electricity needs. The solar site occupies two acres of the 11-acre business site.

In its second generation of leadership, Kay Park Rec prides itself on innovation and quality.

“It was actually my brother, Chris’s idea. I was thinking about the new equipment the company needed to buy,” modestly began co-owner Larry Borglum, explaining the new Kay Park project located at 1301 Pine St. Founded in 1954, the family-owned business employs 67.

Chris and Larry calculated electrical costs and together the brothers, the second generation of Kay Park leadership, determined that generating solar energy would be a long-term company benefit and enhance their green-product image. The company uses recycled plastic in the manufacture of many of their products. Kay Park manufactures outdoor recreational furniture including picnic tables and bleachers.

“It was a big expense, and we didn’t know if we could get a grant,” Larry said.

In June 2023, the Kay Park owners signed a contract with Current Renewable Efficiencies Inc. They began site preparation and took the opportunity to upgrade from 600 amp to 2,000 amp electrical service.

“As a public utility, Mid-American Energy is required to do net-metering, which means they meter the energy we make and give it back, banking it for 12 months. Our solar production is for on-site use,” Borglum said. “At our latitude, it is expected that solar gain will be greatest in high-sun summer months.”

Current Renewable Efficiencies, a solar energy equipment supplier based in West Des Moines, through its Operations Office located in Shell Rock, proceeded with design work, engineering, and applied for grants. Renewable energy grants are administered by the U.S.D.A.’s Rural Energy for American Program which provides loans and grants to rural small businesses and agricultural producers. The U.S.D.A. grant did come through, which means that monies spent for the installations should meet payback in five years.

“We trusted the people doing it,” said Larry, adding that the solar company provided resources, including the names of others who had completed a project like this.

As weather allowed this winter, the panels were installed on the business site in what Larry explained was an “amazing operation.”

“The post locations were positioned by G.P.S. data and posts were machine-pressed into the ground 6’ deep. Once, solar panels required concrete footings, but this is no longer the case. This was really fast. This is the biggest operation in the area… for now,” Larry explained. A transformer part which will get the array operational is on backorder with delivery expected in September.

Borglum is no stranger to green energy, as he drives an electric vehicle (EV) and installed geothermal energy in his own home. He fields questions from neighboring farmers who have stopped by to ask about the solar installation.

This is Janesville’s second solar park, with the other located on Wildcat Way at Fidelity Bank & Trust.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

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