Dakota Electric Association members are receiving more electricity from the sun through a new 3-megawatt solar facility built specifically for the cooperative’s members.
The 15-acre solar site, south of Farmington, Minnesota, is expected to have a 25-year life and will produce enough electricity to power about 600 average homes. The 10,368 panels will produce more than 5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power annually.
This project, along with three previous projects, means Dakota Electric members will be receiving more than 10 million kWhs from the sun each year. That’s enough renewable energy to power more than 1,000 homes.
ENGIE built and owns the solar facility on behalf of Great River Energy. Through a power purchase contract with Great River Energy, Dakota Electric purchases all the solar output for delivery to its member-owners.
“We are pleased to provide this renewable energy resource to our members,” said Greg Miller, Dakota Electric’s CEO. “This project provides renewable energy at fixed costs into the future. The renewable energy becomes a hedge against future wholesale cost increases.”
The solar power is in addition to renewable energy Great River Energy provides to Dakota Electric and other Minnesota electric cooperatives. Thirty percent of Great River Energy’s wholesale electricity comes from renewable sources.
As an added benefit, the grounds at the solar site are planted with pollinator-friendly plants. Once mature, they will provide habitat that is helpful to bees and other pollinators.