First solar-wind hybrid project in the USA

3 January 2019

Juhl Energy has contracted with GE Renewable Energy to supply equipment for the first commercial integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation project in the USA. 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 Co-operative of Pelican Rapids, Minnwsota. 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. The project is scheduled to be operational before year end 2018.

“Distributed generation will play a major role in the implementation of renewable energy in the US electrical market in the years to come,” said Dan Juhl of Juhl Energy. “The cost savings from purchasing the hybrid project’s energy will help provide rate stability, benefiting all of our co-op members,” stated Tim Thompson, CEO of Lake Region Electric Co-operative.

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 project utilises GE’s Wind Integrated Solar Energy (WiSE) technology platform – developed through the company’s Global Research Centre – 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 3-4% 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 – the solar section providing summer peak energy, and the wind providing winter peak energy.

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.

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. 

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