SunTuria Solar at Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative
Introducing SunTuria Solar
Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative dedicated SunTuria Solar November 3, 2017. The 1.25-megawatt array is the first utility-scale solar in Polk and Burnett counties.
Chicago-based SoCore Energy built, owns and operates the array. Polk-Burnett and its wholesale power provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, purchase the energy output.
This renewable energy project provides clean, solar power 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 electricity prices.
SunTuria Solar Highlights
- The 10-acre SunTuria Solar development is located behind Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative in Centuria, Wisconsin.
- The 1.25-MW solar array generates approximately 2,363,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power about 200 homes.
- SunTuria Solar was built, and is owned and operated by Chicago-based SoCore Energy on land leased from Polk-Burnett.
- SoCore's investment was more than $2 million.
- Polk-Burnett and Dairyland have no initial investment, but have contracted with SoCore to purchase energy output at a fixed rate for 25 years.
- Dairyland purchases the output from 1 MW of the system, and Polk-Burnett purchases output from .25 MW.
- Solar output feeds into Polk Burnett's distribution system at the Sand Lake Substation south of Highway 8 for distribution to all co-op members.
- SunTuria Solar has 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 one of 15 solar facilities developed 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 provides clean, renewable energy at a fixed rate, replacing electricity from fossil fuel sources and providing long-term, stable energy prices."
As a early adaptor of solar energy in our region, we'd like to share solar information and knowledge with our community.
Let us know if your school, church or community group would like to tour SunTuria Solar, 800-421-0283, ext. 333.
Construction of SunTuria Solar started in August 2017 behind Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative in Centuria.
Chicago-based SoCore Energy built, owns and operates the array. Polk-Burnett and its wholesale power provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, purchase the energy output. The 1.25-MW solar array generates approximately 2,363,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power about 200 homes. SunTuria Solar is the first utility-scale solar in our service territory.
See construction from an empty field in August to completion in November 2017.
Frame completed September 15, 2017. Support pilings driven into the ground (pictured above) and mounting racks were installed (pictured below).
Work was then done to connect the solar array to Polk-Burnett's electric distribution system, which included installation of underground cable, inverters, switch gear, a transformer, and overhead power line and power poles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is SunTuria Solar located?
SunTuria Solar is located behind Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative in Centuria, just west of the pole yard. The address is 1001 State Road 35, Centuria, Wisconsin.
How much land was developed?
About 10 acres of Polk-Burnett’s 25-acre parcel behind the Centuria office.
Why was this site selected?
The land behind Polk-Burnett’s office in Centuria was ideal for solar development. The power lines serving the site had recently been upgraded, and the electric infrastructure can accommodate energy output from the solar array.
How much power does the array generate?
The 1.25-MW solar array generates approximately 2,363,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power about 200 homes.
Why does Polk-Burnett want to participate in solar energy?
As a co-op, we are owned and exist to serve our member-owners, and SunTuria Solar was an opportunity to provide clean, renewable energy at a fixed, long-term energy rate, in response to member interest. In national and local surveys, co-op members say they are interested in supporting solar energy, with a concern for the environment and the declining cost of renewable energy identified as motivating factors. We're listening.
Why was SunTuria Solar constructed in 2017?
SunTuria Solar was one of of 15 solar facilities developed in 2016-17 by Dairyland Power Cooperative to diversify generation resources and increase solar energy in Wisconsin. Polk-Burnett expanded the size of Dairyland’s original 1 MW project to take advantage of the cost savings of the larger project. Cost savings from th economies of scale make large projects like SunTuria Solar more affordable.
Does Polk-Burnett or Dairyland Power Cooperative own the solar array?
No. Polk-Burnett leases the land to SoCore Energy who constructed, owns and operates the array. Polk-Burnett and Dairyland have a contract with SoCore to purchase all of the energy output.
How much did the project cost and who paid for it?
Chicago developer SoCore Energy paid to construct, own and operate SunTuria Solar on Polk-Burnett lines in Centuria. SoCore’s investment was more than $2 million.
Polk-Burnett and Dairyland 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 does the array have?
SunTuria Solar has about 4,840 solar panels. The panels operate on a tracking system, which follows 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 does the electricity go once it is generated by the solar array?
The electricity goes into Polk-Burnett’s existing distribution system at the Sand Lake Substation, located south of Hwy. 8 on County Road Y in Garfield Township. Once it reaches the substation, the electricity is distributed to local members, just as if the power had been generated and transmitted from a distant power plant.
How is the solar array be secured and protected?
SunTuria Solaris enclosed in a six-foot-tall chain link fence, topped with one foot of barbed wire. The fencing is required by the National Electric Code.
How is the array be accessed?
The solar array has a driveway off of Polk-Burnett’s existing access road. The access road is off of 10th Street in Centuria.
Is the array noisy or does it create a public nuisance? Does it affect safety, health or welfare?
No. The site is fenced and the equipment does 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.
Hoes does the solar array impact the environment? What is being done to prevent water runoff?
SoCore Energy partners 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.
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.