The Fennimore project is part of what is known as the Butter Solar portfolio, a group of 10 different solar projects located in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
The project began as a collaboration between Organic Valley, OneEnergy Renewables and the participating communities.
The Canadian based BluEarth Renewables announced its official acquisition of the project in March of this year.
The energy will be sold under a single power purchase agreement to the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group, or UMMEG, who represents Fennimore and the other communities. The renewable energy credits generated from the locations will be purchased by Organic Valley, the City of Madison, Dr. Bronner’s and NativeEnergy.
“The acquisition of the Butter Solar portfolio is a perfect fit for BluEarth given our ability to finance, construct and operate renewable energy projects. It builds on our growing portfolio in the United States and positions us to further expand our footprint as we pursue other opportunities ranging in size and complexity,” President and Chief Executive Officer of BluEarth Grant Arnold shared in a press release. “Electricity generated by the Butter Solar portfolio will directly service the local communities where the projects are located.”
The sun was certainly shining Monday evening as community members, City Alders and staff as well as the Mayor and Director of Public works gathered to celebrate the completion of the project.
“You may have noticed construction happening here since the end of February,” Director of Public Works Dennis Biddick noted to the group. “We are pleased to introduce this 18 acre solar farm that was developed under the name Butter Solar LLC, and is owned by BluEarth Renewables, a Canadian based energy company. Their Fennimore Solar Project is one of ten such projects in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, and consists of 10,816 panels and is rated at three megawatts AC. It is expected to produce more than 6,000,000 kilowatt hours per year, enough for more than 650 average Wisconsin households, or about two-thirds of Fennimore’s residential needs. This project is currently the second largest solar installation in the state of Wisconsin.”
Fennimore will follow the city of Arcadia in size for solar projects at 3MW. Once completed Arcadia will be sized at 5 MW making it the largest array in the state of Wisconsin.
Other Wisconsin projects in the Butter Solar Portfolio include Cashton Solar Project at 2MW, Elroy Solar Project at 1.5 MW, New Lisbon Solar Project at 2.5 MW, Argyle Solar project at 0.8MW and Cumberland Solar Project at 2.5MW.
“The City of Fennimore’s electric utility, working through their electric buying group UMMEG, has entered into a 25 year power purchase agreement with Butter Solar to buy all of the electricity produced by the solar farm,” Biddick boasted proudly. “This solar farm will fill about 18 percent of Fennimore’s annual electric needs. We currently purchase 22 percent of our electricity directly from wind energy, bringing us up to 40 percent of our annual electric needs being provided by renewable energy, far surpassing our city’s goals of 20 percent renewable by 2020 and 25 percent renewable by 2025. It’s a very good place to be at.”
Director of Project Development for OneEnergy Renewables Eric Udelhofen was also on hand for the event. Udelhofen explained briefly the workings of the panels.
“The panels are tracking, they have a motor on each end and will pivot from East to West to follow the sun and help efficiency,” Udelhofen explained.
In a press release previously issued by BluEarth, Udelhofen noted “These projects exemplify the maxim that ‘many hands make light work’ and reflect a huge amount of effort and commitment from many people including community members, utility boards, REC partners and city and village officials. OneEnergy is humbled by the perseverance of everyone involved to help advance the project to construction. We look forward to replicating this approach with others to bring cost-effective renewable energy to rural communities across the country.”