If you say the name Duane Arnold to people living in Eastern Iowa, they'll more than likely say something in regards to the old nuclear power plant located on the outskirts of Palo. For over forty years, the name has been synonymous with nuclear power. Heck, on a good day you could make out the steam from the plant from the front yard of my childhood home north of Anamosa! But soon the name Duane Arnold will be known for something else. Solar power.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the now dormant power plant will transition to a huge solar power farm in 2023. Owner NextEra of Florida revealed their plans this week with nearby landowners to build a solar farm that could bring $700 million in capital investments and nearly 300 construction jobs. The Gazette reports that the solar farm is planned to spread across some 3,500 acres at and near the old power plant in Palo.

Get our free mobile app

So what kind of power will this new solar farm produce compared to the old nuclear plant that used to operate here produced. The Gazette reports that the new solar farm will produce 690 megawatts of solar energy. When Duane Arnold was operating, it produced around 615 megawatts of energy, powering over 600,000 homes.

NextEra says that the will begin negotiating leases with landowners this summer, with construction planned to start later this winter. The Gazette reports that the company plans to have the plant up and operational by the year 2023.

How Well Do You Know Cedar Rapids?