Construction of Iowa’s Largest Solar Site Nearing Completion

Earlier this fall, Alliant Energy started generating energy from two new solar gardens in Dubuque. This winter, the company is finishing up minor landscaping work around the projects.

West Dubuque Solar Garden

The first site, West Dubuque Solar Garden, is located near Dubuque Industrial Center West. It was formerly agricultural field which was repurposed to house the solar array. IIW worked with the City of Dubuque to assist Alliant Energy in securing enough area and develop lease agreements for the property.

The site, the largest solar array in the State of Iowa, features more than 15,000 solar panels, and is expected to produce enough energy from the sun to power over 700 homes a year.

To prevent erosion on the sloping site, a pollinator-friendly prairie grass mix was selected to provide an ideal habitat to butterflies and bees.

IIW provided site design, structural design, construction layout, staking, and material testing for the project. Prior to construction, IIW helped with roadway design for site access, and was involved in permit coordination with the DNR, Dubuque County, and the City of Dubuque. The project included providing an environmental SPCC plan, including spill prevention, control, and counter measures. Hydraulic and hydrology analysis was performed to determine the 100 year flood elevation for the stream crossing.

Port of Dubuque Solar Garden

The second solar array, Port of Dubuque Solar Garden, is located near the 16th Street Detention Basin on an old brownfield site. This location posed two unique opportunities for Alliant Energy. Two trails were incorporated into the project, connecting to the City’s existing trails system. There was also an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of renewable energy.

IIW assisted with the architectural and structural design of a shelter area including an interactive education center showcasing different solar options, such as tree style, single axis tracker panel, roof mounted solar array, and continuous panel. The site features decorative columns and fencing, including glass panels lining the pavilion for an unobstructed view of the array.

The site features 3,500 solar panels—once operational it will generate enough to power more than 120 homes a year.

In addition to civil and survey services, IIW provided architectural and structural engineering services for the second solar array project, including the development of conceptual renderings and construction documents for the chosen alternative.

“We are advancing cleaner energy, and this project is a major step forward,” said Rick Zimmerman, Project Manager at Alliant Energy. “We couldn’t have done these solar projects in Dubuque without teamwork from local contractors and support from the community.”

IIW worked with Alliant Energy, C.G. Schmitt, and H & H Electric Co. on both projects.


The video below shows construction progress at the West Dubuque Solar Garden site.