Minnesota Power, partners to introduce first solar plus battery storage system to Grand Rapids

Published on November 23, 2020 by Chris Galford

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A joint effort between Minnesota Power, the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission, the Itasca Clean Energy Team, and US Solar is set to bring the first solar plus battery storage to Grand Rapids, Minn.

The system will include a 2 MW solar array and a 1 MW, 2.5-hour battery. While it represents the first clean energy project in general for the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission, it’s also the first solar and battery project for Minnesota Power. Minnesota-based US Solar will develop the array, and construction site preparation is underway.

“Minnesota Power is proud to contribute our expertise and insight to this collaborative, community-driven project,” Julie Pierce, vice president of Minnesota Power Strategy and Planning, said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to implement and learn about solar-plus-storage technology while working closely with a valued municipal customer and our partners in Grand Rapids to bring more carbon-free energy to the region. We are reaching a significant milestone of delivering 50 percent renewable energy to our customers by the end of this year and will be poised to advance further through unique opportunities like this one in Grand Rapids.”

More than $6 million is expected to be invested in the project, generating more than 25 construction jobs along the way. Construction should be completed by the end of 2021, and in addition to the renewables added, it will include a pollinator garden.

“The Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission is very excited to bring this project online,” Tom Stanley, commission president, said. “We have spent many years of working to find a way that we can provide renewable solar power along with battery storage to our system that benefits all of our ratepayers. We would like to thank all of the people involved to get us to this momentous event, and we look forward to enjoying the benefits of this project for years to come.”