Connexus Energy celebrates its innovative solar plus storage project

November 2018

It was an opportunity to see Connexus Energy’s innovative new solar-plus-storage project up close.

On October 25, Connexus Energy thanked is partners, stakeholders, and others interested in the project by hosting a “Celebrate the Sun” event. Those attending learned more about the solar plus storage sites in Ramsey and Athens Township, and had the opportunity to tour the Ramsey site.

The project is believed to be one of the first in the country to use batteries integrated with a solar array to manage peak demand. The two sites will add 10 megawatts of local energy to Connexus’ energy mix. However, what makes this project cutting edge is that Connexus Energy is integrating large scale battery storage at both the Ramsey and Athens sites for a total of 15 megawatts of battery storage.

We listen to members who tell us they want renewable energy without it costing more. Most solar energy is produced when there is lower demand and the price is lower. We will discharge stored local energy during peak hours when energy costs are the highest.

Connexus CEO Greg Ridderbusch

Connexus Vice President of Power Supply, Brian Burandt says it’s taken several years to turn this project into reality. “We are in the home stretch, and are very pleased the pace and quality of the construction. ENGIE North America (formerly SoCore Energy) handled the solar portion, and NextEra Energy Resources, the battery storage. The two solar arrays with the battery storage will be fully operational by the end of this year.”

“We are excited to be part of bringing more local, reliable and cost effective energy to the members and communities served by Connexus. We are honored that ENGIE was chosen to develop these projects that provide increasing access to renewable energy in Minnesota,” said Luis Felipe Birolini, Head of Solar US., ENGIE North America Inc.

“We are pleased to partner with Connexus on this forward-looking project,” said Jason Utton, vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources, which designed, built and will own and operate the energy storage project. “Pairing solar energy with innovative battery storage technology is a big win for customers who get to benefit from more affordable, renewable energy for more hours of the day.”

“There are a number of groups we’ve relied upon for advice and support as this project was being developed,” adds Ridderbusch. “Fresh Energy, University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, and the National Renewables Cooperative Association are prominent stakeholders in this emerging area of energy innovation.”

Connexus Energy is the largest member-owned utility in Minnesota providing electricity and related products and services to approximately 132,000 homes and businesses in portions of Anoka, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Sherburne, and Washington counties. Additional information about Connexus Energy is available online at connexusenergy.com.

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