We want to thank the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission and their staff for their willingness to explore the costs and benefits of creating a local community solar garden. Community solar is a no-hassle way to make “homegrown” renewable energy available to anyone in the community who wants to subscribe for it. The Itasca Clean Energy Team has been working with the GRPUC for the past couple of years to research how community solar programs are working in other parts of Minnesota and across the country, and to determine how feasible a local solar program might be.
Last June the GRPUC contracted with Cliburn and Associates, a nationally respected solar consulting firm, to design a community solar program that is tailored for Grand Rapids. One exciting new development that they have investigated is how adding battery storage to community solar can add value for all rate payers, not just solar subscribers, by lowering demand charges. The wholesale cost of electricity is much higher during periods of high demand, and stored solar power can reduce the amount of high-priced power that GRPUC must purchase on the open market.
While the consultants work will not be finished until early November, Jill Cliburn will be presenting a draft of the proposed program at a public forum on October 9th at Harris Town Hall, 21998 Airport Road, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM. This forum is sponsored by the GRPUC, the Itasca Clean Energy Team, and the Jefferson center. Please attend to learn more about this exciting proposal, to share your questions and concerns, and to provide your input as solar program design moves to completion!
Food for this event will be provided by Barb’s Korner Kitchen.