Sunflower II Energized
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Communications@scecnet.net | 715-796-7000, ext. 613
Sunflower II Energized
Solar array begins power production on the 78th anniversary SCEC members first received power in rural St. Croix County
HAMMOND, Wis., May 25, 2017 – A historic account of May 24, 1939 recalls “the sky never seemed quite so blue, nor the sun quite as bright.” After 18 months of work, the first account on the recently incorporated St. Croix County Electric Cooperative was energized, powered by a diesel generator. Fast forward 78 years: The week leading up to May 24, 2017, brought more than six inches of rain to the County. But, the morning of May 24 found the sun peeking through the clouds and, around 10:15 a.m., the 2.34 MW Sunflower II solar array was online and producing electricity.
Sunflower II is the seventh of 15 utility-scale solar arrays that have been or will be brought online by Dairyland Power Cooperative (La Crosse, Wis.), in 2016 and 2017, totaling 20 MW of solar generation capacity. That’s enough to power more than 3,300 homes with Sunflower II’s 2.34 MW generating capacity enough to power 390 homes.
“After all the work that’s been put in to make this project happen, it’s exciting to have Sunflower II constructed and energized, especially on the 78th anniversary of our Cooperative members first receiving power,” St. Croix Electric Cooperative President/CEO Mark Pendergast said.
In 2016, SCEC purchased 20 acres of land for Sunflower II from local farmer, David Cowles, Sr., in the Town of Warren along 140th St., south of 70th Ave. SCEC will lease the land to SoCore Energy (Chicago), who was selected as the developer for the project by Dairyland. SoCore then selected Faith Technologies (Menasha, Wis.) as the general contractor. The power produced by Sunflower II will be fed into the existing infrastructure, powering the homes and businesses of SCEC members served by the Warren substation, located across the road from the solar array. More than 1,000 SCEC members, including high consumption members, such as County Materials, Pilot Flying J Travel Plaza, and U.S. Minerals, are provided electricity by the Warren Substation.
Prior to being brought online, George Dubisar, of Electric Power, Inc. (Richmond, Va.), ran Sunflower II through nearly an hour of final testing to make sure all components were working properly. Assisting in the testing were two employees from Faith Technologies; Jonathan Roberts, of SoCore Energy; and SCEC Journeyman Lineworkers Scott DeMotts and Lucas Grant. Also on-site for the energizing were Pendergast; SCEC Managers Rob Dooley, Tonya Gullixson and Nick Rude; SCEC Director Alan Wilkie; SCEC Operations Technician Gary Robinson; and former SCEC Member Services Manager Jerry Van Someren.
“Dairyland’s decision to construct 15 utility solar arrays in their service territory is a forward-thinking move,” Roberts said. “We (SoCore) see this as a long-term partnership and we’re looking forward to it.”
Dairyland has committed to purchasing 93 percent of Sunflower II’s output; SCEC secured a 25-year, fixed price, purchase power agreement with SoCore for 7 percent of the array’s generation (about 144 kW).
In November, Craig Harmes, manager of business development for Dairyland, was on-site at Sunflower II and commented on the logic behind siting 15 solar arrays throughout Wisconsin and Iowa.
“The different locations optimize reliability and take advantage of diversified weather,” he said.
Sunflower II will utilize tracking technology to track the sun’s path across the sky. Additional array facts include:
- 9,360 panels
- 310 watts per panel; each panel is 3’ x 6’
- 65 Chint Power Systems (CPS) inverters (36 kW, each)
- 131 NEXTracker single-axis trackers
- 1,433 driven piles
- 20-acre site
- 16-acre pollinator meadow
- Seeding will take place later this summer by Prairie Restorations, Inc., out of Scandia, Minn.
DEVELOPER: SoCore Energy | Chicago www.SoCoreEnergy.com
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Faith Technologies | Menasha, Wis. www.FaithTechnologies.com
POWER PURCHASER: Dairyland Power Cooperative | La Crosse, Wis. www.DairylandPower.com
SERVICE TERRITORY: St. Croix Electric Cooperative | Hammond, Wis. www.scecnet.net
About St. Croix Electric Cooperative
St. Croix Electric Cooperative (SCEC) was incorporated on Nov. 5, 1937, as a result of five farmers determined to bring electricity to rural St. Croix County, Wis. On May 24, 1939, electricity was delivered to the first account. Today, the Cooperative operates 1,772 miles of distribution lines that power 11,000 meters. SCEC helps members realize the Cooperative Difference through Commitment to Community grants, scholarships, rebates, and solutions to conserve and use energy wisely. More information is available online at www.scecnet.net, and on social media: @StCroixElecCoop (Twitter) and St. Croix County Energizer (Facebook).
About Dairyland Power Cooperative
With headquarters in La Crosse, Wis., Dairyland provides wholesale electricity to 25 member distribution cooperatives and 17 municipal utilities. A Touchstone Energy Cooperative, Dairyland’s service area encompasses 62 counties in four states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois). Dairyland’s generation resources include coal, natural gas, hydro, solar, wind and landfill gas. For more information, visit www.dairynet.com.
About SoCore Energy
SoCore Energy (www.SoCoreEnergy.com) is a market leader in cooperative, commercial and industrial solar portfolio development. With hundreds of solar solutions designed and installed across dozens of states, SoCore offers cooperatives, multisite retailers, REITs and industrial companies portfolio-wide solar and energy storage solutions that provide energy cost savings and carbon reduction opportunities. As a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Edison International, SoCore combines Edison’s Fortune 500 stability with entrepreneurial creativity in order to provide energy solutions that our customers genuinely want and need.