Flambeau Solar Project

what it is

In August 2017, EDF Renewables (formerly groSolar), CMS Energy, Dairyland Power Cooperative and Price Electric Cooperative announced commercial operation of the 2.5-megawatt (MWAC) Flambeau Solar project in Flambeau, Wisconsin. The 22-acre photovoltaic facility is comprised of two privately owned parcels leased by the project.

impact highlights

performance

Single-axis trackers follow the sun throughout the day, boosting efficiency.

capacity

When completed, the Flambeau Solar project was the largest solar array in Wisconsin, producing about 5,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy in its first year—enough to power more than 475 homes.

planet

The carbon offset is about equivalent to planting more than 90,000 trees or taking more than 700 cars off the road each year1.

1 According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculations.

opportunity

Teaching about the Flambeau Solar project in Wisconsin CMS Enterprises and EDF Renewables help schoolchildren in Wisconsin's Price County learn about the Flambeau Solar project.

In late 2014, Vermont-based solar developer groSolar (acquired by EDF Renewables in 2016) successfully bid to construct a solar array for Wisconsin-based Dairyland Power Cooperative in the rural community of Flambeau.

In late 2015, groSolar—a turnkey solar engineering, procurement, and construction firm serving the 500-kilowatt (kW) to 30-megawatt (MW) market—approached the CMS Enterprises team about owning, operating and funding development costs for the project.

Dairyland supplies power to Price Electric Cooperative (which serves about 9,000 Price County customers), 24 other electric distribution cooperatives and 17 municipal utilities throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The cooperative also is tax-exempt, preventing it from capturing an investment tax credit to lower its costs. As a taxable entity, CMS Enterprises' involvement enabled the tax credit’s capture and the project’s construction.

The Flambeau Solar project naturally fit with CMS Enterprises’ strengths, including:

  • Our position as a long-term power plant owner-operator.
  • Enabling capture of the investment tax credit.
  • A long-term 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Dairyland Power Cooperative.

solution

In 2016, representatives from CMS Enterprises, Price Electric Cooperative, Dairyland Power Cooperative and groSolar visited the solar array site: a 22-acre farm in the Price County community of Flambeau, Wisconsin.

The property featured several characteristics favorable to solar development, including an advantageous site grade, minimal shade, simple grid connectivity and structurally sound ground. The property is next to a Dairyland Power/Price Electric Cooperative substation for easy interconnection.

CMS Enterprises worked with groSolar to build the 2.5-MW solar array—the largest in Wisconsin when completed. The array features 138 rows of single-axis trackers that track the sun throughout the day, along with 9,900 individual 330-watt panels. The development will produce about 5,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy in its first year—enough energy to power more than 475 neighboring homes.

Power produced by the array will first be absorbed by homes, farms and businesses that are members of Price Electric Cooperative. Excess energy will flow back to the power grid to serve the region.

Watch a brief video featuring Flambeau Solar project highlights.

results

When completed, the Flambeau Solar project was the largest facility of its kind in Wisconsin. Other results include:

delivering clean, renewable, low cost energy to Price Electric and the Dairyland Power Cooperative.

between $750,000 and $1.5 million in economic impact to the region.

local professionals and tradespeople hired to construct the facility.