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Solar-to-battery storage system planned for Grand Rapids

Source: 
Duluth News-Tribune

Nov. 20--The region's first solar-to-battery storage system is headed for Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission, a wholesale power customer of Minnesota Power, on Wednesday approved a 2-megawatt solar array and 1-megawatt energy storage battery to help provide power to its 7,000 customers.

The solar array is under construction near the Grand Rapids/Itasca County Airport. Energy generated by the panels will be stored in adjacent batteries, then released "when demand for energy is high or when the sun isn't shining," Minnesota Power said in a news release Thursday.

"By pairing a utility-sized battery with a large-scale solar system, we will be able to store energy generated from the solar panels and use it during times when electrical power demand is higher," Jeremy Goodell, electric department manager at Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission, said in the release.

Minneapolis-based US Solar is developing the $6 million project, which will support more than 25 construction jobs, and is expected to start producing power by the end of next year.

According Minnesota Power, the solar array will power 390 homes when operating at capacity while the fully-charged storage battery will power 1,000 homes for 2 1/2 hours.

It's Minnesota's Power first battery storage system.

"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," Julie Pierce, vice president of strategy and planning at Minnesota Power, said in the release.

Minnesota Power urged state regulators last week to approve a separate plan to build 20 megawatts of solar arrays at sites in Hoyt Lakes, Brainerd and Duluth.

The three solar projects will total $40 million and create 36 construction jobs. Over the summer, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission wanted utility companies to fast-track construction on projects that could help jump-start the state's COVID-19 economic recovery.

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(c)2020 the Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, Minn.)

Visit the Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, Minn.) at www.duluthnewstribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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