New solar energy projects going up in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Despite cloudy skies, the sun was the focus of two solar projects in Dubuque Thursday.

Alliant Energy was showing off what the company said will be Iowa's largest solar site.

Crews from Alliant are in the process of building a 15,000 panel solar site in Dubuque's Industrial Center West. They expect the site to start producing energy for homeowners by August. The 5-megawatt system can generate enough energy from the sun to power more than 700 homes.

"The price for solar installation continues to decrease. The efficiency of the solar panels continues to increase, so it's getting to be more and more affordable," said Alliant's Terry Kouba.

Alliant Energy is also building another solar site near downtown Dubuque. Once complete this fall, that system will power 126 homes.

At Loras College, a group of students who will graduate this week cut a ribbon on their own solar project.

For the past several years, the students teamed up with Blue Sky Solar to buy and install solar panels on a campus owned home. The students are part of an honors program and conducted research about the benefits of solar energy.

"We have been able to disseminate that information about how easy it is to get this renewable energy," said Louisa Pavlik.

The soon-to-be graduates said this is a functional way to leave their mark on the Loras campus.