A celebration of the sun took place in the city of Ramsey this week.
On Thursday, Connexus Energy and its partners marked one of the first energy projects in the country to use batteries combined with a solar array to manage peak demand.
It was a connection celebration, all thanks to the sun and a battery. It's all part of Connexus Energy's new innovative solar, plus, storage project.
“It’s the first time in the Midwest where we’ve taken solar energy and allowing it to fill up batteries so that we can shift the use, when solar is less valuable, to when it’s more valuable," says Connexus Energy CEO Greg Ridderbusch.
Tours were given of the Ramsey site. This solar array uses over 13,000 solar panels set on 18 acres. These containers hold more than 1,200 batteries capable of providing power for about 2,700 homes.
State Senator Jerry Newton likes the project’s added, ecological impact of providing a habitat for bees and butterflies.
"To know that they’re going to be using the land underneath for pollinators, I mean, just further adds to it, so we’re getting two bags for the buck," says Newton.
In all, Connexus Energy hopes to save 25 percent on energy costs.
"But what we’re going to be doing over the next six months and into next summer is putting this system through its paces," says Ridderbusch.
In addition to the site in Ramsey, there's a second project twice the size in Isanti County. The solar systems are currently in testing but by December everything will be operational for commercial service.