Minnesota military base to host solar farm

$25 million project will be largest of its kind.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Aug. 28, 2014 at 8:31 AM
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DULUTH, Minn., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A Minnesota utility company said it teamed up with the National Guard to build a 10-megawatt solar energy facility on the largest military base in the state.

Planned for Camp Ripley, the 10-MW utility-scale project will cover 100 acres of the 53,000-acre base and represent the largest solar energy installation on military property in Minnesota.

"To provide cleaner energy forms is the mission, and both Minnesota Power and our National Guard are on the front lines," Al Hodnik, chairman of Minnesota Power parent company Allete Inc., said in a statement Wednesday.

The $25 million facility will provide the base with a source of backup power in case of emergency and help service the 143,000 consumers of Minnesota Power during non-emergency hours. It will also help the base meet its goal of reducing its energy footprint by 30 percent from a 2003 baseline.

"The Minnesota National Guard is committed to working with local partners in the government and the private sector, like Minnesota Power, to assist us in our pursuit of sustainable infrastructure," Minnesota National Guard Maj. Gen. Richard Nash said.

Part of the agreement between the Guard and Minnesota includes plans for traditional backup power generation for the base.

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