Solar-to-battery storage system planned for Grand Rapids

Solar-to-battery storage system

The first solar-to-battery storage facility in the area is moving for Grand Rapids.

A 2-megawatt solar array and 1-megawatt energy storage battery were approved by the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Board, a wholesale electricity customer of Minnesota Power, on Wednesday to help supply its 7,000 customers with fuel.

The solar array near the Grand Rapids/Itasca County Airport is under development. Minnesota Power said in a news release Thursday that electricity produced by the panels would be stored in adjacent batteries, then released “when demand for energy is high or when the sun isn’t shining,”

The solar array will power 390 homes while running at peak, according to Minnesota Power, while the completely charged energy battery will power 1,000 homes for two and a half hours.

It’s Minnesota Power’s first battery system for batteries.

Julie Pierce, vice president of policy and planning at Minnesota Power, said in the report, “It’s a great opportunity for us to implement and learn about solar-plus-storage technology while working closely with a valued municipal client and our partners in Grand Rapids to bring more carbon-free energy to the region.”

Last week, Minnesota Power urged state regulators to support a different proposal for the installation at sites in Hoyt Lakes, Brainerd and Duluth of 20 megawatts of solar arrays.

“By pairing a utility-sized battery with a large-scale solar system, we will be able to store energy generated from the solar panels and use it during times when electrical power demand is higher,” By pairing a large-scale solar system with a utility-sized battery, we will be able to store energy generated from the solar screen.

US Solar, headquartered in Minneapolis, is building a $6 million project that will sustain more than 25 construction workers and is scheduled to begin power production by the end of next year.

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