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first on New 1.5 megawatt solar farm is going on-line near Ridgeway

Posted: Tue, Aug 6, 2019 11:43 AM

A new solar farm, the "Madison Solar Project," is about to start generating 1.5 Megawatts of electricity from a site between Decorah and Ridgeway, just off Highway 9.

MiEnergy has built the distribution lines to the array and is just awaiting word for interconnection.  MiEnergy will distribute the power to its member-consumers.  The project will produce enough energy to power about 240 homes.

The array is owned by ENGIE North America's Distributed Solar Group (formerly SoCore Energy), a Chicago based solar developer.  ENGIE installed the facilities and will operate and maintain the facilities.  Dairyland Power will be purchasing the energy from the solar farm. Energy from it will be available for distribution by MiEnergy to its members.

The Madison Solar Project is one of numerous solar projects built because Dairyland Power Cooperative has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the power.  The other solar facilities range in scale from about .5 MW to 2.5 MW and are located around Dairyland Power's service area in western Wisconsin, SE Minnesota, NE Iowa and NW Illinois.

All of the Dairyland Power/ENGIE solar generation sites also provide beneficial bee and butterfly habitat.  Prairie Restorations Inc. of Princeton, Minnesota is installing and maintaining the native seed mixes of grasses and flowering forbs used to create certified pollinator gardens at each solar site.  Total acreage at the Madison Solar facility will be about 15 acres.  Total acreage for all of the Dairyland Power/ENGIE projects will be nearly 225 acres.  In addition to helping sustain and grow bee and butterfly populations, the pollinator gardens will help reduce storm water runoff, increasing site protection from erosion.