Solar array adds to ECE power portfolio
Drivers on Highway 107 in Braham may have noticed the solar array on the south lawn at East Central Energy's (ECE) headquarters. The 20 kilowatt array is generating energy for the electric grid and information ECE members can use if they consider...
Drivers on Highway 107 in Braham may have noticed the solar array on the south lawn at East Central Energy’s (ECE) headquarters. The 20 kilowatt array is generating energy for the electric grid and information ECE members can use if they consider investing in a solar system.
ECE’s wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy, built the solar array in Braham last fall. It is one of 20 solar installations GRE is building at co-ops throughout the state. In addition to augmenting a growing portfolio of renewable resources, the projects are providing GRE and its member cooperatives with experience in solar development and a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges of this generation source.
In addition to the arrays at the co-ops, GRE has constructed a 250 kW solar array at its headquarters in Maple Grove, MN. Combined, the facilities have added 650 kW of new solar energy to GRE’s diverse portfolio, which also includes wind, biomass and hydropower.
On average, the array in Braham has been producing about the cumulative monthly energy used by two homes in ECE’s service territory. Its peak output typically occurs between 1-2 p.m. and on a sunny day is usually about 12 kilowatts. That’s enough energy to power two electric water heaters, 10 microwaves or 100 42-inch LED TVs. The energy production of the array can be viewed in real time at eastcentralenergy.com.
ECE members are not able to invest in solar panels as part of the local installation, but solar energy makes up a portion of the renewable energy blocks purchased by members who participate in ECE’s Renewable Energy program. To learn more about supporting renewable energy through that program, visit eastcentralenergy.com or call 1-800-254-7944.
ECE would also like to gauge member interest in purchasing panels in a community solar project.
“If there is sufficient member interest, and if we can develop a plan that makes sense financially, we will look at community solar,” said Energy Services Supervisor Justin Jahnz. “We urge members to contact us if they would be interested in purchasing panels in a solar installation.”