US Solar and Minnesota Power have entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a solar+storage project in Grand Rapids, Minn. The project is the result of a collaboration between US Solar, Minnesota Power, Grand Rapids Public Utilities, the Itasca Clean Energy Team and Grand Rapids.
“This project is an impressive feat of collaboration,” says Reed Richerson, COO of US Solar. “It represents the culmination of a successful effort between a city, a municipal utility, an investor-owned utility and a privately-owned solar developer to bring the benefits of renewable energy to Grand Rapids.”
US Solar is developing the 2 MW solar array and 1 MW/2.5-hour energy storage battery on city-owned land near the Grand Rapids/Itasca County Airport. The energy produced by the solar panels can be stored in the adjacent battery to be dispatched during times of high energy demand or when the sun is not shining. The solar array will include single-axis trackers and bifacial modules which significantly increase its efficiency.
Environmental benefits to the local community extend beyond the increase in carbon-free, renewable energy. US Solar plans to install a diverse mix of pollinator-friendly, deep-rooted plants throughout the array. This native pollinator habitat supports bees, butterflies and other local wildlife. This vegetation has also been proven to decrease stormwater runoff and improve the quality of soil, water and air.
The project represents over $6 million in private investment and will support over 25 construction jobs. Over the course of the project term, it will generate over $465,000 in local tax revenue and land lease payments that will benefit Grand Rapids and its residents.
The project is expected to be producing clean energy for Grand Rapids Public Utilities customers by the end of 2021.
Photo: US Solar’s landing page