Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 18th November
Through a wholly owned subsidiary, Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company has purchased a pre-operational 11.3-MWdc solar project from OneEnergy Renewables. The Fillinona project, which is located on four separate sites across Minnesota, expands Greenbacker’s operations in a state with robust clean energy goals.
Greenbacker’s holistic approach to land management at its renewable energy assets is evident in this project. Under the solar panel panels at Stockton and Fountain, pollinator-friendly vegetation will be planted to help support declining pollinator populations and contribute to a healthy local biosphere. The two other sites, Hazel (near Lanesboro) and Rushford Village, will serve as grazing areas for nearby farmers’ sheep.
In return for leasing the land from local farmers and towns, the project provides a reliable income for the landowners during the project’s lifespan. Two of the sites are also involved in an agreement in which Stonyfield Organic, the nation’s largest organic yogurt manufacturer, will buy renewable energy credits in order to have its dairy supply chain run on 100% renewable electricity by the year 2025.
Fillinona is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2021, producing clean power for Fillmore and Winona counties in southeastern Minnesota. MiEnergy Cooperative, the offtaker utility, hosted an event at the Rushford Village site to commemorate the project’s mechanical completion on October 25, 2021
This is the largest direct partnership between Greenbacker and OneEnergy, a seasoned developer of community and utility-scale solar projects. OneEnergy developed and constructed the project.
“Working on this project with OneEnergy and Stonyfield, two firms focused on healthy people and a healthy planet, has been a natural fit,” said Charles Wheeler, CEO of GREC. “Environmental health is a top priority for us—one that goes hand in hand with being responsible custodians of the land our projects occupy.”
“OneEnergy is excited to bring the Fillinona projects into operation and advance our partnership with Greenbacker and MiEnergy” said Eric Udelhofen, Development Director of OneEnergy. “We appreciate the trust our landowner and community partners have placed in us to see the projects from initial concept to operations, and we look forward to remaining involved as they transition to serving their communities with a dual purpose: clean energy production and ecosystem services.”
Each of Fillinona’s four sites have the same long-term PPA with MiEnergy, a rural electric cooperative whose consumers will soon start receiving locally generated clean energy from the project.
“In cooperation with Dairyland Power Cooperative, we’ve been able to enter into this PPA for local, renewable energy within our electric service territory,” said Brian Krambeer, MiEnergy president and CEO. “The strategic location of the arrays will provide wholesale power cost savings that will benefit all members of our cooperative.”
Greenbacker’s fleet of sustainable infrastructure projects comprises approximately 2.2 GW of generating capacity (this includes both Fillinona and assets that are to be constructed). Since 2016, Greenbacker’s real assets have generated 3.0 million MWh of clean energy, abating 2.1 million metric tons of carbon. Today these projects support 2,700 green jobs.
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