Heartland Power Cooperative, with offices in St. Ansgar Iowa and Thompson Iowa owned the largest solar array in Iowa for much of last year and some of this year as well, until we just completed our last project with Luther College which now occupies that position in the State of Iowa Solar. Both completed by Dragonfly Solar.
This was the first real “winter solar build” Dragonfly has been involved in.
Dragonfly Builds Iowa’s Largest Solar PV Array in Mid Winter in St. Ansgar, Iowa
In many ways, it was brutal, and we learned a lot about the many differences that will be very helpful the next winter project we are contracted to design and build.
This was a project managed by NRCO. We received our “NTP” Notice to Proceed on November 25th…much later than we had anticipated. The week before we really began, it was warm enough to still rain and rain it did. For an entire week. Then the fall turned instantly to January like winter…and never really ever left until next spring.
We had already had all the I-beam’s installed in the ground, rushing the last numbers in the rain with a forecast suggesting a very cold spell that could last for some time. All beam were in but just in time leaving large ruts and tire tracks from that work and other lift work. Over a weekend, the temperature dropped to about 0 to 15 below zero and stayed that way for over 10 days. Freezing everything solid…ruts and all. See frozen dirt pile intended to distribute before any winer along with final or very near final excavation work.
Rained for days then straight to 10 below zero for almost 10 days…in November!
Almost everything from there on out required frequent use of un-gloved hands and it was cold. It sits right in the middle of wind alley proved by all the wind turbines surrounding that area. So even at 10 degrees, with the wind, it was never warm until well after we completed our work. We waited until the ground thawed to get back in for the final grading and cover planting to complete. Tough stuff – very proud of our team, unreal circumstances.
Those are solar panels (SolarWorld), in those boxes waiting to be installed
We found out later that NRCO’s (National Renewables Cooperative Organization – which was created to help coops with projects), largest project to date, by a fair amount at the time, was the one we were building for Jon and his team at Heartland. This created some “learning curves”. If you are bidding on a project under the similar circumstances, feel free to contact me if you think I could help. Just send en email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Title to me, Steve Peters.
In the end, the team from Heartland led by CEO Jon Leerar, Mike Holstad, Karrie Pringnitz, Randy Dieterich, Dave Low and the rest of the team at Heartland – Thank you….just the very best group of people I/we have ever had the pleasure working with. Smart, fair, aggressive in the way their customers want them to be. Showing leadership in tangible ways…Perfect. Here is a link to their website if helpful. I would only ask that if you call that you realize Jon is the CEO and is on the move constantly, so please serious, similar questions please – thank you: Heartland Power Cooperative
If you are another coop or a company, school, hospital, city, etc…looking for experienced EPC steeped in larger Solar PV installations under every kind of circumstances – (flood plains, completely custom solar parking-charging stations over a parking lot sitting over a swamp for GE Global Fleet Headquarters, three different installs on one site at same time, almost every top of the line products and related competency as we build to the customer – to their site. I think we may have only one facility that is identical to another we built. All the rest were different for real reasons), and would like too talk to them about our effort, I am sure Jon would take a call. Jon leads all at St. Ansgar and Thompson offices…a true Iowa Coop leading the way. Proving Coops and Solar can exist together!
Dragonfly Solar in Iowa