Electric service provider Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, Inc., has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Minnesota National Guard over plans to build a 10MW utility-scale solar array at Camp Ripley, the largest military base in Minnesota.
Once completed, the system will be the largest PV installation on military land in the state and will help reduce the camp’s energy usage by 30%.
Al Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE, said: “To provide cleaner energy forms is the mission, and both Minnesota Power and our National Guard are on the front lines. This project helps meet our goal of achieving the state’s solar mandate and it advances our company’s EnergyForward goal of providing a balanced mix of one-third renewable, one-third coal and one-third natural gas energy sources reliably and affordably. “
Hodnik added: “I’m pleased to work in partnership with the National Guard, to answer the nation’s call to transform our energy landscape. This solar project is good for the Little Falls area and Morrison County and it’s good for Minnesota.
Expected to cost US$25 million, the array will cover an estimated 40.5 hectares on the base and is projected to be completed in either 2015 or 2016.
The array will allow the National Guard to meet energy conservation guidelines established by the Department of Defense while Camp Ripley would gain an energy security advantage by being able to operate without an electric grid in emergency scenarios.