(Jan. 16, 2014)—Dairyland Power has signed an agreement with member cooperatives to purchase the renewable energy produced by a planned large solar facility to be located along U.S. Highway 52 north of Rochester, Minn.
The new solar installation will be 517 kilowatts (kW), and could produce enough energy to power nearly 60 homes. The facility will be located in the Oronoco Crossings Business Park and interconnected to People’s Energy Cooperative power delivery system. Construction of the solar facility is scheduled to begin as soon as weather permits and is planned to be operational in early spring.
The solar installation will be developed, owned and managed by three Dairyland member cooperatives: Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, People’s Energy Cooperative and Tri-County Electric Cooperative.
“The development of this solar project complements Dairyland’s current renewable energy resources, which provide about 12 percent of our members’ energy,” said Bill Berg, President and CEO. “Expanding solar resources is consistent with Dairyland’s strategic intent to diversify our energy resources portfolio.”
The three CEO’s of the local electric cooperatives issued a joint statement about the opportunity to bring solar energy to their part of the state. “Going it alone on a project like this would not have been possible. Electric co-ops have a rich history of working together, whether it is helping restore power following a storm or providing additional programs or services to their memberships. We couldn’t be more pleased about working together to bring renewable energy to this area of Minnesota that will benefit our members,” stated Elaine Garry, President/CEO of People’s Energy Cooperative.
Dragonfly Solar of Lakeville Minnesota will be responsible for engineering, procurement and construction for the project which will utilize U.S. manufactured solar components.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to partner with a group of utilities that continue to demonstrate their commitment to their customer base by taking steps to complement their existing energy delivery systems with solar,” said Steve Peters, President of Dragonfly Solar. “We appreciate their confidence in our company.”
Recently, Dragonfly Solar commissioned another PV installation on the roof of DeLaSalle High School on historic Nicollet Island, downtown Minneapolis; and has been featured on a video by former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu for their development and installation the largest solar PV facility in Iowa at Luther College in Decorah.