March 24, 2014 - Dragonfly Solar and SolarWorld will partner to deliver a 517-kilowatt solar array to four electric utility cooperatives in the U.S. Midwest. The project is the nation's first to be developed under a model of joint ownership among utility cooperatives, exemplifying how cooperatives can maximize their clean-power investment.
The solar array will be owned and managed by Minnesota-Three, an entity jointly owned by Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services of Albert Lea, Minn., People's Energy Cooperative of Oronoco, Minn., and Tri-County Cooperative of Rushford, Minn. – all utility cooperatives whose member-owners have joined forces to curb energy costs. Dairyland Power of La Crosse, Wis., the cooperative power wholesaler for the region, has signed an agreement to purchase the solar array's renewable-energy output.
"Utility cooperatives are leading the way in making clean power an integral part of their energy portfolios," said Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld. "We're proud to support these uniquely American enterprises with an American-made solar solution to ensure their customers reap the benefits of sustainable energy for decades to come."
Dairyland Power selected Dragonfly Solar to design, procure and construct the project. The installation will feature more than 1,800 of SolarWorld's American-made solar panels manufactured at the company's U.S. headquarters in Oregon. Construction of the solar facility is scheduled to begin this spring in Oronoco, Minn.; upon completion, the array will be interconnected to People's Energy Cooperative's power delivery system.
"We are excited to have an opportunity to partner with a group of utilities that continue to demonstrate their commitment to their customer base by taking steps to complement their existing energy-delivery systems with solar," said Steve Peters, president of Dragonfly Solar. "We appreciate their confidence in our company."
"Going it alone on a project like this would not have been possible," said Elaine Garry, president and CEO of People's Energy Cooperative, on behalf of the three utility cooperatives comprising Minnesota-Three. "Electric co-ops have a rich history of working together, whether in restoring power following a storm or providing additional programs or services to their memberships. We couldn't be more pleased about working together to benefit our mutual members by bringing renewable energy to this area of Minnesota."