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Iowa Gov. Tours CITY; Sees Solar Panels

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks with CITY Laundering President Colin Wetlaufer during a visit to the plant in Oelwein, IA.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) recently toured CITY Laundering Co. in Oelwein, IA, and saw an installation of more than 850 solar panels on the company’s roof that’s enabling CITY to replace two-thirds of the electricity it buys from the local utility, according to a news release.

“Solar energy is a reinvestment in the company that will last nearly 50 years,” said Colin Wetlaufer, president of the 112-year-old commercial laundry. “We always want to make decisions that are long term … that’s why we’ve been able to be here for so long. We’re always looking for investments that impact our future.”

The governor, who took office earlier this year when her predecessor, Gov. Terry Branstad (R), was named U.S. ambassador to China, also saw an installation of energy-efficient LED lighting, a water-filtration system and other innovations, the release said.

Other business leaders who attended the Aug. 31 visit included Jason Hall, CEO of Moxie Solar, the North Liberty, IA-based company that installed the solar panels. “At just over 300 kilowatts, this is the largest roof mount of any kind in the state of Iowa,” Hall said. “This is an even larger deal considering this array was built for a privately held company vs. a large city or municipality. It’s really a significant milestone.”

Representatives of Sitler Supplies, which installed the new energy-efficient lighting in 2014, also attended the visit with Gov. Reynolds.

Wetlaufer noted that the local utility provider, Alliant Energy, offered an “interconnection agreement” that allows CITY to redistribute energy back to the community when it produces more than it needs. This move made solar energy more affordable for CITY, Wetlaufer said. “Having the net-metering agreement made the economics of the project a lot more viable.”