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A Closer Look at Community Solar in Action

Randy Sukow Jun 28, 2017

NRTC and SoCore Energy hosted site visits to community solar facilities during the recent Association of Rural Electric Generating Cooperatives (AREGC) meeting in La Crosse, WI. Representatives from rural co-ops, industry consultants and Dairyland Power Cooperative staff took a bus tour to Vernon Electric Cooperative in Westby, WI, to view a solar facility under construction, and to Richland Electric Cooperative, Richland Center, WI, to witness a solar generation center in operation.

“These systems are unique within the co-op family in that community solar gardens for Vernon and Richland are collocated with Dairyland’s systems,” said Brad Seibert, NRTC’s VP of Next Generation Energy, who attend the AREGC conference and took the photos here. “Vernon and Richland were able to create green energy solutions for their consumer-members at cost structures which reflected Dairyland’s high-volume economics.”

Several NRTC members are participating in Dairlyland’s solar project, which built out in 2016 in collaboration with NRTC and SoCore Energy.

Pictured above, Craig Harmes, manager, Business Development for Dairyland, (third from the left with green shirt) and NRTC Board Vice Chairman Shannon Clark, CEO and GM of Richland Electric (far right, brown shirt), led the group through a discussion of the types of equipment and processes they would see at the solar facility. The Richland solar generation plant, located next to one of its substations, includes a half-megawatt Dairyland operation collocated with a Richland Electric 100-kilowatt facility.

Right, at the Vernon Electric facility is one of the tracking mechanisms installed at the location. The automated system ensures that solar panels follow the path of the sun to increase generation efficiency. The Vernon site will include a 2-megawatt operation for Dairyland and 245 kilowatts for Vernon Electric.

 

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