Brainerd solar array is operational Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport

BRAINERD — Brainerd Public Utilities announced a 6.54 megawatt DC / 5.75 megawatt AC photovoltaic solar array at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport is fully operational and will supply just over 10 gigawatt hours of renewable energy annually.

This is equivalent to the electric needs of 1,379 homes in one year.

The new array, owned and operated by American Electric Power OnSite Partners, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, will provide energy to BPU for the next 30 years under a power purchase agreement.

“This solar project will contribute to and help us reach future carbon-free emission commitments and will produce about 6% of the energy used by those in the BPU service area,” said BPU Director Todd Wicklund, in a news release. “It will also help us save money on energy bills by reducing capacity costs during times when electricity demand is at its highest.”

“AEP OnSite Partners is focused on delivering energy solutions that best fit the unique needs of our customers and help them reach their sustainability goals,” said Greg Hall, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of AEP. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the City of Brainerd.”

The solar array is powered by over 13,850 advanced solar panels manufactured by Trina Solar and installed by Interconnection Systems Incorporated.

AEP OnSite Partners also plans to construct a 1.3 megawatt solar project near the BPU wastewater treatment facility. The project was approved in February, and BPU has a power purchase agreement with AEP OnSite Partners. In addition, BPU receives wholesale power supply from AEP Energy Partners, a competitive energy subsidiary of AEP that offers customized wholesale power supply products within ERCOT, MISO, PJM and SPP.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 12:30 p.m. June 27 at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport to celebrate the operation of the solar array.

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