Alliant, YMCA/YWCA team up on unique solar project

T-R PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY Representatives of Alliant Energy along with Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA CEO Kim Jass-Ramirez and Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO John Hall break ground on a new 500-kilowatt solar project near the intersection of East Main Street and North 18th Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

A group of local leaders converged at the RC Flyers area near the intersection of East Main Street and North 18th Avenue Wednesday afternoon to mark the groundbreaking for a special partnership between two well-known entities in the Marshalltown community: the YMCA/YWCA and Alliant Energy.

The two are teaming up on a 500 kilowatt array with 1,200 solar panels on four acres of land, which the Y owns, that will provide clean energy to the local electric grid and produce enough to power 95 homes.

“With this solar project, the Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA will generate income for our business while showcasing our commitment to sustainability. As a nonprofit human services organization, we will put this income back into our business, which will help us provide essential services for the community,” Y CEO Kim Jass-Ramirez said. “We are also confident that the benefactor who donated this land would be pleased with this project and its positive impact.”

Alliant Energy Director of Customer, Community and Economic Development Dennis Jordan spoke next during the brief ceremony and noted a connection between Jass-Ramirez and himself — she was once his son’s boss at the YMCA in Marion. According to Jordan, the groundbreaking for the customer hosted solar project was the first of its kind in Iowa.

“You guys can take pride in the fact that no one else beat you to the punch, and you get bragging rights from this point forward,” he said. “This is a significant one, and I just couldn’t think of a better partner than the Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA to do this project. Clearly, you guys recognize the value of sustainability, and that’s what we’re hearing from a lot of our customers in communities throughout the state.”

Alliant has laid out a “clean energy blueprint” to go completely carbon free by 2050 — which, Jordan said, is “like tomorrow” in the energy world — coal free by 2040 and cutting emissions in half by 2030. To get there, the company will take “aggressive steps” and pursue more projects like this one.

Before he handed the microphone off to Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO John Hall, Jordan additionally recognized SunVest Solar, the developer/installer behind the project. Hall highlighted “the value of partnerships” within the community and expressed optimism that it would inspire other local businesses to seek creative opportunities to meet their own sustainability goals.

“In the background, you can also see the power generating station, so we’re showcasing not only the sustainability but also the reliability of power from Alliant Energy here in our market,” he said.

With the introductory remarks out of the way, those in attendance performed the age-old ritual of putting on their hardhats and tossing those first few scoops of dirt, marking the official commencement of what looks to be a beautiful friendship between Alliant and the Y.

During a subsequent interview, Jass-Ramirez credited her predecessor, Carol Hibbs, with getting the ball rolling on the endeavor and called it “a no-brainer” that will allow the Y to make good use of an important asset.

“From our end of things, they’ve made it very easy for us, so just the communication and the work that they’ve done have just made it really turnkey for us,” she said.

According to a press release, Alliant will design, construct, own, operate and maintain the project. In return, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA will receive annual fixed lease payments and renewable energy credits over the next 20 years. Operational status is currently anticipated by this fall.


Contact Robert Maharry

at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or



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