Our Renewable Energy Story

Farmers Electric Cooperative (FEC) has become a nationally-recognized solar energy leader. FEC, one of the smallest utilities in the nation, is the subject of a case study by Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) published in October.

Solar Schools Program 

Washington Township Elementary School -- a small rural school that is part of the Mid-Prairie Schools system. Farmers Electric Cooperative received a grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation to support the installation of a 1800 watt solar tracker. As part of this grant the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) worked with WT staff on classroom curriculum integration.

Iowa Mennonite High School -- a private religious based high school. Farmers Electric Cooperative worked with the physics class and teacher Richard (Dick) Yoder-Short to install an 1800 watt solar tracker. The following year Dick with the help of his class and parents conceived, designed, and constructed a 50,000 watt (50KW) solar field.

Solar Garden
There are 100+ different owners of this 40 kW community solar garden. Members of the Cooperative are offered the opportunity to purchase solar modules in this solar garden located on Cooperative property. These solar modules are installed and maintained by the Cooperative and the energy they produce is credited back to the customer on their monthly power bill.

Community Solar

Site based Solar and Wind
28 sites scattered across 3 counties feed power to the Farmers Electric Cooperative grid under a Feed-In-Tariff designed to help these installations pay off in less than 10 years.

An estimated 400 kW of total solar and wind capacity is sold to FEC each month.

Solar Farm
The Eagle Point 2 solar farm was completed in 2014. This 800 kW solar farm covers 4.5 acres and is owned and operated by Eagle Point Solar LLC.
FEC buys the energy from this farm under a 10 year purchase power agreement. After 10 years the Cooperative will purchase the remaining assets and obtain ownership.

Eagle Point 2 Solar Farm

Off Grid Solar
The Cooperative has installed around 25 off grid installations consisting of small point of use systems to power fiber/phone points and various lighting projects.

SPI 2014 - SEPA Honors Warren McKenna as Utility CEO of the YearSPI 2014 - SEPA Honors Warren McKenna as Utility CEO of the Year

Farmers Electric Cooperative-Kalona Named Among Top Solar Utilities in United States

2nd place added solar watts per customer


 Farmers Electric Cooperative has been named among the utilities that integrated the most megawatts and/or watts per customer of solar energy in the United State in 2014, earning a spot on the Solar Electric Power Association’s (SEPA’s) annual Top 10 utility solar listings.

 In survey results released April 29 in San Diego, Farmers Electric Cooperative ranked No. 2 on the Annual Watts-per-Customer list, with 1,158 Watts per customer installed in 2014, and 1,653 Cumulative Watts-per-Customer (W-ac). 

 The awards were announced at SEPA’s Utility Solar Conference in San Diego. The eighth annual survey includes figures from more than 1,000 utilities across the country on new solar they installed both in 2014 and cumulatively.

 “Our Top 10 survey results confirm the unstoppable momentum now propelling solar market expansion in the United States and the active role many utilities are playing in it,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA’s President and CEO. “Consumers across the country want solar, and their utilities are responding, with streamlined interconnection procedures as well as new and innovative projects and business models. And we’re seeing this growth not only in well-established markets, such as in California or Hawaii, but in unexpected pockets of solar activity, including Tennessee, Utah and Montana.”

 The full Top 10 listings are available on the SEPA website at www.sepatop10.org.

 The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit organization working to help utilities make solar energy a safe, reliable and reasonably priced part of their energy portfolios, while benefiting themselves, their customers and the general public. As co-sponsor of both PV America and Solar Power International, SEPA provides research reports and educational opportunities, including webinars, fact-finding missions and professional networking events.


NREL Highlights 2014 Utility Green Power Leaders

May 2015 – The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its assessment of leading utility green power programs. Using information provided by utilities, NREL has developed "Top 10" rankings of utility green power programs for 2014 in the following categories: total sales of renewable energy to program participants, total number of customer participants, the percentage of customer participation, and green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales.

Customer Participation Rate
(as of December 2014)
RankUtilityParticipation Rate
1Portland General Electric (Green Source)12.33%
2Sacramento Municipal Utility District11.76%
3Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (MA)11.05%
4Farmers Electric Cooperative of Kalona10.46%
5Eversource/United Illuminating8.93%
6PacifiCorp (Blue Sky Usage and Habitat)8.90%
7Silicon Valley Power8.17%
8Madison Gas & Electric Co7.97%
9City of Naperville (IL)6.23%
10River Falls Municipal Utilities5.88%


Warren McKenna,
May 20, 2015, 9:56 AM