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Luther College is also planning a battery storage electricity project

Posted: Tue, Oct 1, 2019 1:15 PM
Luther's current solar energy complex (Photo by's Paul Scott)

Earlier this week ( we told you the Decorah Park Board has approved a proposal from Alliant Energy to build a battery facility which would store excess electricity generated by solar panel projects in the area.  Now it seems likely that Alliant's project won't be the only one of its kind.

Luther College Center for Sustainable Communities Director Jim Martin-Schramm says it's likely construction will begin next year on an expansion of the current solar energy project on Pole Line Road.  In addition to installing additional solar panels, the project would create a battery facility to store the generated electricity.

Martin-Schramm explains that larger electric users like Luther College get charged electricity rates based on the "demand charge"--the highest amount of electricity consumed at any one time.  That gives Luther and similar customers an incentive to reduce peak loads, which is where the battery storage plant comes in.

Martin-Schramm also says next year's project will help Luther reach its goal of zero emissions by 2030.  Right now it has reduced 45 percent of its emissions since the 2004 school year.