Juhl Energy has selected GE Renewable Energy to supply equipment for the first commercial integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation project in the U.S. The Minnesota-based clean energy company has developed the 2.0-MW community-based renewable energy project to provide low-cost, locally generated energy to the Lake Region Electric Cooperative of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota.
Bank of America has provided necessary financial support for the project, agreeing to purchase the project-generated Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), in line with its environmental goals. 3Degrees facilitated the connection between Juhl Energy and Bank of America.
“Distributed generation will play a major role in the implementation of renewable energy in the U.S. electrical market in the years to come,” said Dan Juhl of Juhl Energy. “Projects such as this one, with Juhl Energy’s package design and GE hybrid technology, will economically blend clean, renewable energy into the electric grid at a lower cost, plus add reliability to the system.”
The project will use one 2.0-116 wind turbine from GE Renewable Energy’s Onshore Wind business supported by 0.5 MW of PV solar. The innovative project uses GE’s Wind Integrated Solar Energy (WiSE) technology platform – developed through GE’s Global Research Center – to directly integrate the solar panels through the wind turbine’s converter so both wind and solar share the same balance of plant, increasing system net capacity by 3 to 4% and annual energy production by up to 10%.
The hybrid design gives these type of projects the ability to produce power when it is most needed, with the solar essentially providing summer peak energy, and the wind providing winter peak energy.
Pete McCabe, president and CEO, Onshore Wind, GE Renewable Energy, said, “By leveraging the complementary nature of wind and solar, this unique project shows how GE is driving technology innovation that will help customers deliver more renewable energy in an even more efficient manner.”
Bank of America’s purchase of the RECs from the project long term will cover the bank’s electricity usage in the state and will contribute to its 2020 environmental operations goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity.
“Accelerating the path to a sustainable future starts with creative thinking and projects that can help drive more low-carbon energy solutions in our communities,” says Alex Liftman, Global Environmental executive at Bank of America. “Through supporting innovative renewable energy projects like this one, we continue to enhance our commitment to reduce our operational impacts on the environment.”
The project will be owned by a subsidiary of Juhl Energy that pools together capital from the company and outside private investors. Juhl is further partnering with Faith Technologies, Inc., to construct the project and collaborate on building additional hybrid projects. Faith Technologies, Inc. is a national leader in electrical planning, engineering, design and installation that is headquartered in Menasha, Wisconsin and has regional offices throughout the country.
“This unique renewable energy project will provide a tremendous amount of value to the local community. The cost savings from purchasing the hybrid project’s energy will help provide rate stability, benefiting all of our co-op members,” said Tim Thompson, CEO of Lake Region Electric Cooperative. This project will be operational before year end 2018.