Sun Shines on Ribbon Cutting for Brainerd’s New Solar Array
The future of energy in Brainerd might become brighter thanks to a new solar array at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport that’s the result of a multi-faceted partnership.
“It’s taken us five years to get to this point, but it has been said that it’s about energy for about 1,400 homes,” said Brainerd Public Utilities (BPU) Director Todd Wicklund. “It supplies a good chunk of Brainerd at this point in time. So that’s a first step to meet these renewable goals.”
This project was aided by a partnership with several organizations within the community in order to make it a reality.
“AEP Onsite partners and Brainerd Public Utilities, City of Brainerd as well, and the airport all worked together on this,” explained AEP Energy Director of Business Development Victor Hoerst.
The solar array will help the city attain carbon-free emission commitments and provide energy to Brainerd Public Utilities for the next 30 years.
“Here we’re looking at about 40 acres of solar panels. They are tracking so they’re going to move throughout the day to capture as much sunlight as possible to get as much energy as you can for every post you put into the ground,” said Hoerst.
Brainerd Public Utilities hopes to make energy more cost efficient by using a cleaner source in years to come.
“The big thing for them here is that for every kilowatt that’s coming out of this particular array, that’s a kilowatt they don’t have to buy out on the open market,” explained Hoerst.
The new array will produce 10 gigawatt hours of energy annually to the Brainerd community.