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The sun is the power plant for our entire solar system. To harness that energy, Great River Energy (GRETM) constructed 650 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy installations throughout the state of Minnesota and the 2.25 megawatt Dickinson Solar Project for Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association.
The first project was a 250 kW solar array at our Maple Grove, Minnesota, headquarters facility. The array includes a mix of technologies to help determine how solar energy installations can be integrated into cooperative systems. This array joined an existing one that produces 72 kW of electricity at full capacity.
Along with our member cooperatives we constructed 19 solar installations in their communities. These solar installations provide Great River Energy and our member-owners with experience in solar development. The projects will also help us identify solar technologies that are effective with our electric systems.
Additionally, Great River Energy is working with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and Department of Energy (DOE) to analyze various business cases for distributed generation and solar installations. That work, which is funded by a joint DOE/NRECA grant and part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative, will provide valuable information for cooperatives across the country.
Great River Energy and our member cooperatives offer the Wellspring Solar Program. Through the program, customers may choose to buy additional solar energy for a nominal monthly fee.