SunTuria Solar at Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative
Introducing SunTuria Solar
Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative is excited to partner with Dairyland Power Cooperative to develop the area's first utility scale solar.
Chicago-based SoCore Energy will build, own and operate the array. Polk-Burnett and its wholesale power provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, will purchase the energy output.
This renewable energy project will provide clean, solar energy to help meet the energy demands of Wisconsin and our local co-op membership. Renewable energy diversifies the region’s energy mix and maintains a fixed energy rate for 25 years, helping to provide long-term, stable energy prices.
The project will be completed and generating power in 2017.
Construction of the SunTuria Solar development started in August behind Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative in Centuria.
Chicago-based SoCore Energy will build, own and operate the array. Polk-Burnett and its wholesale power provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, will purchase the energy output. The 1.25-MW solar array will generate approximately 2,363,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power about 200 homes. When completed this fall, SunTuria Solar will be the first utility-scale solar in our service territory.
September 15 Update: Frame is completed. Construction of the 10-acre SunTuria Solar array is on schedule, said Jarod Boerst, engineer and SunTuria project manager for Polk-Burnett. In a project update earlier this week, he reported:
- The 10-acre SunTuria Solar array will be constructed behind Polk-Burnett’s Centuria office in 2017.
- The 1.25-MW solar array will generate approximately 2,363,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power about 200 homes.
- SunTuria Solar will be built, owned and operated by Chicago-based SoCore Energy on land leased from Polk-Burnett.
- Dairyland will purchase the output from 1 MW of the system, and Polk-Burnett will purchase output from .25 MW.
- Solar output will feed into Polk Burnett's distribution system to benefit all co-op members.
- SunTuria Solar will have about 4,840 solar panels. The panels operate on tracking systems, which follow the path of the sun to increase energy production–almost 14 percent more electricity than fixed panels.
- As a side benefit, the ground under the array will be restored as prairie to reduce soil erosion and provide habitat for bees and butterflies.
- SunTuria Solar is part of a plan by Dairyland Power Cooperative to diversify generation resources and increase the amount of solar energy in Wisconsin.
"We are excited to develop local solar for our membership," said Polk-Burnett General Manager Steve Stroshane. "Our SunTuria Solar project will provide clean, renewable energy at a fixed rate, replacing electricity from fossil fuel sources and providing long-term, stable energy prices."
Polk-Burnett's solar project will be similar to this array at Dunn Energy Cooperative near Menomonie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where will SunTuria Solar be located?
SunTuria will be built behind Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative’s office in Centuria, just west of the pole yard. The address is 1001 State Road 35, Centuria, Wisconsin.
How much land will be developed?
About 10 acres of Polk-Burnett’s 25-acre parcel behind the Centuria office will be developed.
Why was this site selected?
The land behind Polk-Burnett’s office in Centuria is ideal for solar development. The power lines serving the site were recently upgraded and the electric infrastructure can accommodate energy output from the solar array.
How much power will the array generate?
The 1.25-MW solar array will generate approximately 2,363,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power about 200 homes.
Why does Polk-Burnett want to participate in solar energy?
This is an opportunity to produce solar energy locally. Polk-Burnett’s SunTuria Solar will provide clean, renewable energy at a fixed rate, replacing electricity from fossil fuel sources and providing long-term, stable energy prices.
Why is the project being constructed now?
Dairyland Power Cooperative is diversifying its generation resources and plans to double the amount of solar energy in Wisconsin. Polk-Burnett was selected as ONE of 15 new solar sites to be developed in 2016-17 by Dairyland Power Cooperative at electric co-ops across Wisconsin and Dairyland’s service territory.
Dairyland will purchase the output from 1 MW of the system, and Polk-Burnett will purchase output from .25 MW. Polk-Burnett has expanded the size of Dairyland’s original 1 MW project to take advantage of the cost savings of the larger project.
Will Polk-Burnett or Dairyland Power Cooperative own the solar array?
No. Polk-Burnett will lease the land to SoCore Energy who will construct, own and operate the array. Polk-Burnett and Dairyland will contract with SoCore to purchase all of the energy output.
How much will the project cost and who is paying for it?
Chicago developer SoCore Energy will pay to construct, own and operate the SunTuria array on Polk-Burnett lines in Centuria. SoCore’s investment is more than $2 million.
Polk-Burnett and Dairyland will have no initial investment, but have contracted with SoCore to purchase all of the energy output at a fixed rate for 25 years.
How many panels will the array have?
SunTuria Solar will have about 4,840 solar panels. The panels operate on tracking systems, which follow the path of the sun to increase energy production–almost 14 percent more electricity than fixed panels.
Who is responsible for maintaining the solar equipment?Chicago developer SoCore Energy owns the solar array and is responsible for all maintenance and repairs.
Where will the electricity go once it is generated by the solar array?
The electricity will go into Polk-Burnett’s existing distribution system and will flow to the Sand Lake Substation, located south of Hwy. 8 on County Road Y in Garfield Township. Once it reaches the substation, the electricity will be distributed to local members, just the same as if the power had been generated and transmitted from a distant power plant.
How will the solar array be secured and protected?
SunTuria Solar will be enclosed by a six-foot-tall chain link fence, topped with one foot of barbed wire. The fencing is required by the National Electric Code.
How will the array be accessed?
The solar array will have a driveway off of Polk-Burnett’s existing access road. The access road is off of 10th Street in Centuria.
Will the array be noisy or create a public nuisance? Will it affect safety, health or welfare?
No. The site will be fenced and the equipment should not cause any negative impacts as it operates throughout the day. The only moving part is a small motor that enables the panels to track the sun’s movement throughout the day, maximizing the array’s solar output.
Will the solar array impact the environment? What is being done to prevent water runoff?
SoCore Energy is partnering with a regional company called Prairie Restorations Inc. to plant native vegetation at the base of the array. The seed mix is designed to increase pollinator habitat for bumble bees, honey bees and butterflies, while minimizing storm water runoff.
How is the Village of Centuria involved?
The village board approved a conditional use permit for the land owned by Polk-Burnett. The village does not benefit financially and the permit request complies with all requirements.
Will this site expand in the future?
There are no plans for expansion at this time.