Richland Electric Cooperative Solar Groundbreaking

With a perfect backdrop of a sunny sky, Richland Electric Cooperative, Dairyland Power Cooperative and SoCore Energy celebrated the start of construction of two solar projects with a groundbreaking event in Richland County Monday.

Richland Electric Cooperative previously announced its “Transition Energy” program, designed to provide an opportunity for interested members to purchase the energy output of solar panels and have it applied to the energy usage at their home, farm or business. Shannon Clark, REC's General Manager and CEO, told the gathering of legislative and local leaders, the coop's board of directors and staff and REC members who have made commitments to purchase a solar panel, that the project is another example of how member-driven cooperatives work together to accomplish great things. Clark said REC members had a need they wanted met and expected the coop to deliver a product that was safe, affordable, reliable and sustainable. By working with fellow cooperatives and their partners, Clark said, we were able to meet those needs and more.

The second aspect of the project is the first of 12 major solar projects announced by Dairyland Power Cooperative in February. Dairyland has power purchase agreements in place with two developers to purchase over 15 Megawatts of renewable energy from multiple new utility-scale solar facilities in Wisconsin.

The two solar developers selected—SoCore Energy and groSolar of White River Junction, Vermont will be constructing 12 new solar facilities in western Wisconsin. Dairyland is also continuing negotiations for additional solar resources in its service territory. The solar installations will range between a half megawatt to 2.5 megawatts in scale. The facilities will be tracking systems which follow the path of the sun to increase energy production. Together, the solar facilities will be able to produce enough renewable energy to power over 2,500 homes. Richland Electric Members interested in purchasing a solar panel or panels, are encouraged to contact the coop for additional information. The option to purchase a panel is open only to members of REC. Richland Electric has constructed a building on the site that will serve as a classroom for visitors. A webcam will be installed for interested people to keep track of the construction with a link available on the REC website.