Dairyland Power Cooperative announced Feb. 24 has finalized agreements with two developers to purchase over 15 MW of renewable energy from multiple new utility-scale photovoltaic solar facilities in Wisconsin, including one in Hillsboro.
Last year, Dairyland issued a request for proposals (RFP) for solar generation resources. At this point, Dairyland has power purchase agreements in place with two solar developers — groSolar (White River Junction, VT) and SoCore Energy (Chicago, IL) — for 12 new solar facilities to be sited in Hillsboro and other area communities, including Liberty Pole, Necedah and Viola.
Dairyland is also continuing negotiations for additional solar resources in its service territory, with further project announcements anticipated in the near future.
The solar installations will range between .5 MW to 2.5 MW in scale. These facilities will be tracking systems which follow the path of the sun to increase energy production. Together, the solar facilities will be able to produce enough renewable energy to power over 2,500 homes.
As a cooperative initiative, the solar facilities will be built in the service areas of Dairyland’s member electric cooperatives. The advantages of multiple rojects in separate locations include: diversified weather, distributed grid infrastructure impacts and locally-based renewable energy.
“Dairyland is a cooperative dedicated to providing safe, reliable and sustainable energy. As Dairyland celebrates our 75th anniversary this year, we are excited to announce very significant solar generation plans that far surpass current solar resources in the state,” said Barbara Nick, president and CEO.
The developers will install, own, operate and maintain the solar facilities. The first projects are expected to become operational this summer, with others continuing to come online into the fall.
Below is a listing (by developer) of the proposed locations, projected scale and local electric cooperative:
• Hillsboro: 1 MW (Vernon Electric Cooperative)
• Liberty Pole: 1 MW (Vernon Electric Cooperative)
• Necedah: 1.5 MW (Oakdale Electric Cooperative)
• Viola: .5 MW (Richland Electric Cooperative)
• Arcadia: 1 MW (Riverland Energy Cooperative)
• Conrath, WI: 1 MW (Jump River Electric Cooperative)
• Eastman: 1 MW (Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative)
• Medford: 2 MW (Taylor Electric Cooperative)
• Menomonie: 1 MW (Dunn Energy Cooperative)
• Roberts, WI: 2 MW (St. Croix Electric Cooperative)
• Town of Hallie: 1 MW (Eau Claire Energy Cooperative)
• Phillips, WI: 2.5 MW (Price Electric Cooperative)
Although these projects constitute Dairyland’s largest solar investments to date, Dairyland also purchases energy from major solar installations (Westby, WI, Oronoco, MN, and Galena, IL) and supports 10 member cooperative community solar installations, with more planned. In addition, there are 700 consumer-owned distributed generation solar installations located in Dairyland’s service area.