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ECE celebrates new solar array

A new two-megawatt solar array built for East Central Energy (ECE) members demonstrates the cooperative’s commitment to renewable energy.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held November 22 at the array’s 15-acre site in Cambridge, MN. In attendance were ECE Board of Directors and staff, Cambridge city officials, members of North 65 Chamber of Commerce, representatives from Great River Energy (GRE) and ENGIE North America, as well as Minnesota State Representative Brian Johnson.  

The solar array has a 25-year life expectancy and is estimated to produce enough electricity to power about 300 average homes. More than three million kilowatt-hours of energy will be produced each year thanks to over 7,000 panels that track the sun.

ENGIE North America, a private energy company, will sell the array’s production under a 25-year contract to GRE, which will then sell the entire output to ECE. The only investment for ECE was to connect the array to their lines.

The layout includes a low-growing, pollinator-friendly meadow, which is equivalent to planting wildflowers and grasses in over 9,000 backyard gardens. The deep roots of pollinator grasses also have significant soil and storm water benefits.

“We are so thankful the city of Cambridge has this great site for the array,” shared ECE President/CEO Steve Shurts. “We will continue to explore additional means to increase our renewable energy supply, with an eye toward our members.”

Cambridge solar array ribbon cutting
 All smiles as the ribbon is cut by ECE’s Board Chair, Linda Laitala, and held by Jeff Haas of Great River Energy, Cambridge Mayor Jim Godfrey, and Andy Seward of ENGIE.

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