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, Ill.)—for 12 new solar facilities to be sited in Wisconsin. 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 projects in separate locations include: diversified weather, distributed grid infrastructure impacts and locally-based renewable energy.
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:
- Phillips, Wis., 2.5 MW (Price Electric Cooperative)
- Viola, Wis., .5 MW (Richland Electric Cooperative)
- Roberts, Wis., 2 MW (St. Croix Electric Cooperative)
- Conrath, Wis., 1 MW (Jump River Electric Cooperative)
- Necedah, Wis., 1.5 MW (Oakdale Electric Cooperative)
- Menomonie, Wis., 1 MW (Dunn Energy Cooperative)
- Medford, Wis., 2 MW (Taylor Electric Cooperative)
- Liberty Pole, Wis., 1 MW (Vernon Electric Cooperative)
- Hillsboro, Wis., 1 MW (Vernon Electric Cooperative)
- Town of Hallie, Wis., 1 MW (Eau Claire Energy Cooperative)
- Eastman, Wis., 1 MW (Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative)
- Arcadia, Wis., 1 MW (Riverland Energy Cooperative)
Although these projects constitute Dairyland's largest solar investments to date, Dairyland also purchases energy from major solar installations (Westby, Wis., Oronoco, Minn., and Galena, Ill.) 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.
Dairyland, its member cooperatives, groSolar and SoCore Energy look forward to working with residents and project stakeholders as we work cooperatively to develop these projects.