Case Study: Dairyland Power Cooperative Portfolio
In 2015-2017, Dairyland Power Cooperative collaborated with SoCore Energy to build an 18 MWac portfolio of ground mount solar projects across 14 sites plus 1.6 MWac of community solar projects across 9 sites in Wisconsin and Iowa.
Nine of the participating distribution cooperatives invested in smaller, 100 – 250 kW community solar gardens (CSG) located adjacent to a larger array, and achieved greater economies of scale than if they had developed the projects on their own. Dairyland invested in distributed solar to meet its RPS and regulatory requirements, diversifying its generation portfolio and meeting member demand for solar energy.
SoCore worked extensively with NRTC and Distribu-Gen (an organization of Dairyland’s member distribution cooperatives) to select the sites in collaboration with Dairyland’s members and local landowners.
- SoCore identified land for eight of the sites through their GIS prospecting process and negotiated directly with landowners to sign long-term leases
- Three of the sites were leased by SoCore from landowners the co-ops themselves identified
- For the remaining sites, SoCore worked directly with the cooperative to develop projects on land that the cooperative owned or was in the process of purchasing
- SoCore will be the owner/operator for each project and obtained over $20 million in third-party financing for the portfolio.
Benefits of this distributed solar approach include:
- Minimizes the need for transmission or distribution system upgrades
- Greater energy reliability due to diversified weather conditions
- Community members can purchase subscriptions to the CSG projects, providing a solar option for those who cannot afford, or do not have the conditions for, a rooftop solar system.
How solar farms become bee pollinator gardens
SoCore Energy uses vegetation plantings as a standard element in ground mount designs, including native seed mixes of grasses and flowering forbs. SoCore is dedicated to creating certified habitat that is beneficial to wildlife (including pollinators), reduces storm water runoff, increases protection from erosion, increases soil infiltration, and potentially increases energy production due to the creation of a micro-climate within the array.
According to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) data, the Dairyland portfolio will nearly double the amount of solar energy in Wisconsin. Together, the solar facilities will be able to produce enough renewable energy to power thousands of member homes and businesses in Wisconsin.
Dairyland’s commitment to preserving the quality of the environment represents a deeply held view that good environmental practices reflect sound operations and contribute to the overall health of the communities it serves.
For more information, contact:
Director of Origination