BLACK HILLS ENERGY SELECTS US SOLAR TO DELIVER TWO COMMUNITY SOLAR GARDENS, ADDING 2.5 MW OF CAPACITY IN SOUTHERN COLORADO
Subscriptions and reserved space for income-qualified customers available at both facilities
PUEBLO, Colo., May 19, 2021 – Black Hills Energy today announced that it has selected US Solar to deliver 2.5 megawatts (MW) DC of solar power for Southern Colorado customers through two new community solar gardens (Solar Gardens). The two new projects, co-located along Highway 50 Business, just south of Vineland, include a 2 MW DC facility, five percent of which will serve low-income customers, and a 500-kilowatt (kW) DC garden completely reserved for low-income customers.
US Solar is a developer, owner, operator and financier of solar generation projects, focusing on emerging state markets and community solar programs. US Solar will reserve a total of 600 kW of capacity for low-income customers and will also donate $100,000, evenly distributed across ten local nonprofits.
US Solar plans to host a groundbreaking ceremony at commencement of construction to welcome the community and distribute the donations. The Solar Gardens are expected to begin construction this year. Subscriptions are still available to all Black Hills Energy customers in Pueblo, Cañon City and across its Southern Colorado territory. To learn more about Black Hills Energy’s community solar garden program visit https://www.blackhillsenergy.com/services/colorado-solar-program/community-solar-garden. Customers can get more information and sign up for a subscription to US Solar’s Solar Gardens at us-solar.com/co-bhe.
“We look forward to partnering with US Solar as we continue to expand our Southern Colorado community solar garden program,” said Devin Moeller, renewable energy manager for Black Hills Energy. “Solar gardens help our customers use renewable energy even if they are unable to invest in rooftop solar, while helping us support Colorado’s vision for a clean energy future.”
“We’re excited to help Black Hills Energy expand its community solar garden capacity, while also fulfilling our mission to make solar energy more accessible,” said Reed Richerson, COO of US Solar. “We’re looking forward to partnering with Southern Colorado to support its clean energy and community development goals.”
In addition to clean energy production, US Solar will also be planting pollinator-friendly native vegetation at the Solar Garden site, which will decrease stormwater runoff, enhance soil regeneration, and increase air quality in the surrounding community while providing pollinator habitat.
Black Hills Energy expects to construct six new community solar gardens by the end of 2021, including the two developed by US Solar. This will bring the total number of Black Hills Energy community solar gardens to 10, for a total capacity of 10.5 MW. Total space reserved for low-income customers will exceed 2.5 MW.
Black Hills Energy will select developers for an additional 5 MW DC of community solar garden capacity in the next two years.
About Black Hills Corporation
Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) is a customer focused, growth-oriented utility company with a tradition of improving life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, the company serves 1.28 million natural gas and electric utility customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. More information is available at www.blackhillscorp.com.
About US Solar
United States Solar Corporation ("US Solar") makes solar energy accessible with simple solutions that are as good for the wallet as they are for the environment. US Solar is a developer, owner, operator, and financier of solar generation projects with a focus on emerging state markets and community solar programs. US Solar helps residents, public entities, and businesses reduce electricity costs with local, renewable energy. Additional information about US Solar and community solar subscriptions can be found by visiting https://us-solar.com/ and https://facebook.com/USSOLARcorp/.
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MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Solar and Minnesota Power have entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for a solar-plus-storage project in the City of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. This trailblazing project is the result of collaboration between US Solar, Minnesota Power, Grand Rapids Public Utilities, the Itasca Clean Energy Team, and the City of Grand Rapids.
“This project is an impressive feat of collaboration,” said Reed Richerson, US Solar’s Chief Operating Officer. “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 clean, renewable energy to Grand Rapids.”
US Solar is developing the two-megawatt solar array and one-megawatt/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 the efficiency of the solar array.
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, low lying, 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 solar-plus-storage project also positively impacts the local economy. 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 the City of Grand Rapids and its residents. Additionally, Grand Rapids Public Utilities ratepayers will receive affordable, reliable, clean energy throughout the 25-year life span of the project.
“We are excited to be working with US Solar again on this community-driven solar-plus-storage project that will support local manufacturing and bring more carbon-free energy to the region,” said Julie Pierce, Vice President of Minnesota Power Strategy and Planning. “We are reaching a significant milestone of delivering 50 percent renewable energy to our customers by the end of this year.”
Rick Blake, Grand Rapids City Councilor and Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commissioner, added, “This project started years ago with a spark from the Itasca Clean Energy Team. So, kudos to them because without their continuous support, this project wouldn’t have happened.”
The project is expected to be producing clean energy for Grand Rapids Public Utilities customers by the end of 2021.
Elizabeth Ries, Host of Twin Cities Live, visited one of US Solar’s local community Solar Gardens to learn how Minnesota’s community solar program works, and how residents, public entities, and businesses can save on electricity costs through a community solar subscription.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation today announced two 25-year agreements with both US Solar and Nokomis Partners to purchase a total of 7.4 million kilowatt-hours annually from community solar gardens located throughout Minnesota. This is equivalent to approximately 24 percent of the agency’s total annual electricity use.
“The Minnesota Department of Transportation is pursuing solar energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money and support the health of people, the environment and our economy in Minnesota,” said Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “These community solar garden subscriptions are moving us in the right direction toward our sustainability goals.”
The agreements were a result of MnDOT’s recent request for proposals to enter into community solar garden subscriptions for its facilities and operations serviced by Xcel Energy.
The agency subscribed to 14 community solar gardens developed and owned by US Solar and nine community solar gardens owned by Nokomis Partners. The solar gardens will generate clean, renewable energy and provide energy savings to MnDOT in 18 separate counties. Six of the solar gardens are targeted to be online by early 2020.
Community solar in Minnesota allows businesses, public entities and residents to benefit from solar power even if their home or building cannot generate solar power on-site. Customers can subscribe to a community solar garden and receive a credit on their utility bill for their amount of subscribed energy produced each month by the solar garden.
The CW Twin Cities captures US Solar's Pollinator Community Celebration - an event where community members toured a US Solar pollinator-friendly Solar Garden and learned about native pollinators and honey-producing apiaries located onsite.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. and MINNEAPOLIS, June 11, 2019 -- Today, Walmart announced that it has reached an agreement with US Solar to subscribe to 36 of US Solar's community solar gardens located throughout the state of Minnesota.
US Solar’s 36 one-megawatt (MW) community solar gardens will generate clean, renewable energy and provide energy savings to Walmart locations in 13 separate counties. The first solar gardens have completed construction and the remainder are targeted to be online by the first half of 2020.
Community solar in Minnesota allows businesses, public entities, and residents to subscribe to an offsite solar garden without having to site solar directly on their property, thereby enabling subscribers to reduce their retail electricity costs while also supporting clean, local energy. Subscribers receive energy savings in the form of a bill credit on their retail electric bill based on the amount of energy produced each month by their subscribed portion of the solar gardens.
“Solar is a vital component of Walmart’s expanding renewable energy portfolio,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Vice President of Energy for Walmart Inc. “Walmart plans to tirelessly pursue renewable energy projects that are right for our customers, our business and the environment. This community solar gardens initiative with US Solar is moving us in the right direction toward our renewable energy goals.”
“We commend Walmart for their leadership in corporate renewable energy adoption and are proud to have Walmart as an anchor subscriber in so many of our projects, supporting further development of community solar in Minnesota,” said Martin Mobley, US Solar CEO.
The bill credits that Walmart will receive are based on Minnesota’s Value of Solar methodology, which takes into consideration the value of the solar energy delivered to the utility by the community solar gardens, as well as other grid and environmental benefits.
INFORUM: Community solar gardens can turn pennies from the sun into big savings over 25 years
Written By: Patrick Springer | Jun 9th 2019 - 7am
MINNEAPOLIS, June 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- United States Solar Corporation ("US Solar"), a leading community solar developer, announced today it has secured a project financing facility from the Alliance Fund II, LP, an affiliate of North Sky Capital which is advised by New Energy Capital Partners ("NEC"), a leading investor in clean infrastructure real assets. This capital will be used to support the development of US Solar's 100+ MW solar portfolio, with an initial focus on the Minnesota community solar market.
"U.S. Solar's strategy of developing grid interconnected community solar projects aligns with our focus of investing in small-scale, high quality clean energy infrastructure," said Ian Marcus, Principal at New Energy Capital Partners. "U.S. Solar's strength in the Minnesota market presents an attractive opportunity for NEC and we're pleased to add them as a development partner."
Mike Pohlen, Managing Director at North Sky Capital, added, "While we are geographically indifferent with respect to our investments, it is particularly exciting to partner with a leading developer in US Solar to build community solar projects in our home state of Minnesota."
"We are tremendously excited to be working with North Sky and NEC," said Marty Mobley, US Solar's CEO. "This facility will help us move forward in key markets with additional conviction and agility, while also allowing for significant scaling potential."
Since its founding in 2014, US Solar has focused on emerging "community solar" markets, which bring the solar opportunity both to owners of well-situated project sites and to electric customers unable to host a project onsite. Through its subsidiaries, US Solar identifies and contracts directly with property owners and electricity customers. Following early successes working with municipalities, school districts and corporate subscribers, US Solar plans to launch a residential pilot program in 2017.