Eco Lips Initiates Solar Program


Eco Lips Initiates Solar Program

Cedar Rapids building wins $65,400 solar grant

By Dave DeWitte
The Gazette
Thursday, August 12, 2004, 12:23:59 PM

A former industrial building converted to loft studios and offices in southeast Cedar Rapids is one of a handful of sites nationwide awarded grants for solar energy in redeveloping "brownfield" areas.
The $65,400 U.S. Department of Energy grant will start the ball rolling on a $140,000 project to install a 7,200-watt solar array at the Cherry Building, 329 10th Ave. The project is a partnership with Alliant Energy, the Iowa Renewable Energy Association, the Thorland Co., and the city of Cedar Rapids. The city of Cedar Rapids is the primary local partner for the project, which was formally proposed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The solar array will not power the entire building, but will have the capacity to supply approximately the amount of energy used in a small home. A control panel for the system and an explanation of how it works will be visible to visitors. The grant was one of three awarded Monday to demonstrate the potential for solar energy in redeveloping "brownfields," or former industrial areas, according to Dave Evans of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who worked with local groups to put the project together.

The Cherry Building is in the New Bohemia redevelopment area, an emerging center for arts, culture and entertainment. More than 80 years old, the building was formerly a manufacturing location for packaging equipment manufacturer Cherry Burrell (now Evergreen Packaging Equipment). The building is now owned by the Thorland Co. of Cedar Rapids.

The project evolved from discussions last year between Eco Lips, a Cherry Building tenant, and GotoPlanB, a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy and environmental projects.