New Solar Array to Power Dozens of Homes

Created: 06/16/2014 11:34 PM
By: Hannah Tran

Drivers on Highway 52 near Oronoco may be able to spot a recently new solar array that’s almost ready to deliver solar energy in its region later in June. 

Joe Kleven is wiring these solar panels together for what's considered to be the last few steps before this solar array is up and running. 

"It's a clean source that we're adding to the existing infrastructure of already-burning fossil fuels in facilities that's producing electricity," he said. 

Kleven is an engineer for Dragonfly Solar, who is responsible for engineering, procurement, and construction for the project which uses solar components manufactured by the U.S. 

Solar engineers say the new Oronoco solar array, at least at this time, is among the largest solar arrays in Southeast Minnesota that's already put together. To put that into perspective, Kleven shared a past experience in Iowa. 

"Two years ago in Decorah, Iowa, we did the largest one in that state, that was 260 kilowatts, this one is almost double that," explained Kleven. 

Solar energy absorbed in this facility will provide power for members living in the six county region that's served by the People's Energy Cooperative in Oronoco. 

Bob Messerich, one of the owners of Dragonfly Solar, is excited to bring more solar energy to this region of Minnesota. 

"This would probably give power in a neighborhood of a hundred homes," said Messerich. 

The solar energy is not replacing anything already in place. Solar engineers say it's just bringing clean energy to an already existing infrastructure. 

"It extends the life of our infrastructure and saves money in that sense and also produces energy that could be utilized immediately," said Kleven. 

Solar power officials say the past three years have been very busy for their line of work in Minnesota. 

"We've been seeing growing demand in solar as the prices have been coming down as far as price of construction," said Gary Fitterer, Director of Engineering at People's Energy Cooperative in Orocono. 

Dragonfly Solar will also be constructing a solar array that's twice as big, however, and that may soon be the largest solar array in the local region. 

The People's Energy Cooperative will see their solar array function in the next coming weeks. 

Photo: ABC 6 News