Last month Organic Valley hosted a ribbon cutting for their solar farm in rural Cashton, WI. This 2.34MW install officially made Organic valley the largest food company to be 100% powered by renewable energy. What’s makes this project so special? It is part of a network of projects that all started because one person had a vision, which led to other facilities to band together to meet similar renewable energy goals.
“What started as a dream to become a 100% renewably powered food business became a community project that would benefit more than 23,000 rural Midwestern households within the scope of the overarching project. Suddenly, the project went beyond Organic Valley’s offices, warehouse and plants. It meant decades of cheaper energy from renewable sources for tens of thousands of rural Americans.”
Once the project was rolling, crews from several companies had a hand in piecing these “solar farms” together, often working through frigid winter temperatures and a rainy, muddy spring to complete the work. The main site in Cashton, WI will produce as much energy in 1-day as the average American homes uses in 1 year.
Arch was chosen for the wire management and medium voltage electrical portion of the project by the construction contractor for the projects, Recon Corp. of Mt. Pleasant, MI, due to their longstanding expertise in solar energy. The difficult and intrinsic nature of the work performed required electricians with a strong background in solar and quality workmanship. Arch staff managed just under a million feet of photovoltaic (PV) wiring, all the terminations and connections to the inverters, and landed it all at large transformers that they installed. Their expertise in medium voltage management and design is their strong point.
“The Butter Solar Project consists of 32 megawatts installed at 10 locations feeding into 13 municipal utilities in three states. A who’s who of co-op grocery store shelves including Organic Valley, Dr. Bronner’s and Clif Bar have signed on to buy the renewable credits along with the city of Madison.”
How does this effect the average community? Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. Community solar expands access to solar for all, including low-to-moderate income customers most impacted by a lack of access, all while building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid.
Wisconsin is now home to more than 15 utility scale community solar projects, with more in the works. We are proud to work in a state that is putting such an emphasis on renewable energy, these changes will not only impact us now, but our future generations to come.
This initiative aligns perfectly with our vision of universal access to affordable renewable energy. We took great pride in contributing to this project. For more information on how YOU can access affordable renewable energy, contact us today!
This post was written by Jolynn VanGinkel