DBQ Franciscans Begin Work to Install 2,600 Solar Panels

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The Dubuque Franciscans are installing more than 2,600 solar panels to power Clare House at Mount St. Francis Center.

“In 1988, we converted about 80 acres of our property to prairie, and in May of 2019, 55 of these acres and 13 acres of woods were put into a conservation easement,” said Sister Marie Cigrand. “The installation of solar panels on our property is our next endeavor in doing our part to preserve our planet for future generations.”

Each panel will generate 375 watts of electricity, for a grand total of 990,000 watts; the ground-mounted solar system would reduce Clare House’s energy usage by 80%.

“This will provide some energy independence and cost control as energy costs will continue to rise,” said Sisters of St. Francis Maintenance Director Paul Hayes.  “We want to be more environmentally friendly and lessen our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Clare House operates on a geothermal system.  Alliant Energy will be able to “bank” excess energy the panels generate during summer months and let us use it again during colder months, said Paul.

The project is slated to be competed in June.