Shirley Baker Commons, 20 kW

View of the Baker Village solar panels.

Luther College installed a 20 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array near the Shirley Baker Commons in the summer of 2013.

The purpose of this smaller array is to demonstrate to students and other members of the community how solar photovoltaic energy and geothermal energy are being used to provide all of the energy needed to heat, cool, and power Baker Village—the largest facility in Iowa powered by the sun.

In conjunction with the 280 kW system installed north of Pole Line Road, these two arrays were designed to generate all of the power Baker Village consumes over the course of a typical year.  

The panels are arranged in two rows just south of the Lillehammer building in the Anderson Prairie. When the array produces more power than the complex consumes, the surplus electricity powers neighboring homes. Luther receives full retail credit for this surplus power through Iowa’s net metering rule.

System Information

  • 20 kW (DC) ground-mounted PV array.
  • Installed August 2013.
  • Designed by Werner Electric and installed by Perry Novak Electric.
  • 84 panels each rated at 240 watts manufactured by SolarWorldUSA.
  • Two rows of panels 68 feet long, set at a 30º angle, and oriented due south.
  • The array is sited in a retention basin so as not to disturb Biology research parcels.
  • Average annual production: 26,500 kWh. 

Financial Information

  • Total installed cost: $82,500
  • U.S. Department of Energy Grant (40%)
  • Luther College Donors to Renewable Energy (40%)
  • Alliant Energy Rebate (20%)