The power of local solar and energy efficiency tours

posted by Jordan Oster on Thursday, October 26, 2023

legislator tour of ottumwa solar field

Part of the work of an advocacy organization is to educate and engage lawmakers on topics related to our work. 

For nearly a decade now, the Iowa Environmental Council has organized tours of clean energy and efficiency sites for state legislators of both parties. These tours have brought IEC to all        corners of the state where project owners, like business owners, faith leaders, local city or county officials, and homeowners can share their experiences and demonstrate the technology firsthand. 

Tour stops have included a wide variety of sites, ranging from a welding shop, grain elevator,  bank, apartment buildings, a car dealership, town library, farm supply store, public and private schools, and a major insurance company. 

In October, IEC coordinated solar tours in Burlington and Ottumwa, where legislators and their staff could learn about solar opportunities. During the tour, one local mayor shared his thoughts on solar, and is one that lawmakers often hear on tours all over Iowa: that solar power is saving them significant money and it's the right thing to do for their community. 

Man pointing to duct work in basement of home during tourWorking with local community action agencies, a number of tour groups have visited low-income home weatherization projects to meet the homeowners or renters who have benefitted. Being welcomed into a home and hearing how these programs make residents more comfortable in summer and winter, control their energy costs, and improve home safety can be a lasting experience. 

Legislative tours have allowed the Iowa Environmental Council to build relationships with clean energy customers all over the state, strengthen engagement with legislators, and build our reputation as advocates for a clean energy future.  

  1. clean energy
  2. energy efficiency
  3. environmental justice
  4. iowa legislature
  5. legislative session
  6. renewable energy
  7. solar power

About The Author

Jordan Oster is IEC’s Energy Program Associate Director. He joined the Council in 2019 after previously consulting for the organization. Jordan is an experienced issue advocate who grew up in the Des Moines area. Prior to joining IEC, he worked with numerous state and nation ... read more