Rural electric cooperatives have responded to the falling costs of solar power in numerous ways. You will find here champions and leaders within the cooperative community who have innovated ways to deploy solar power generation.
We hope this site will provide educational and inspirational examples from within the cooperative community for others within the cooperative community to learn how to implement more solar power.
Dairyland Power Cooperative of Wisconsin has become a national solar leader among cooperatives. With their construction of 20.3 MW of solar and the potential for more to come, Dairyland is our top solar champion. Under the leadership of CEO Barbara Nick they have listened to their members asking for more solar and renewable energy, and acted.
Dairyland is a generation and transmission cooperative consisting of 25 member cooperatives in four states. Dairyland solar plans currently include 20.3 MW of solar at 15 locations throughout Wisconsin, with the potential for more. We talked with CEO Barbara Nick, solar project leader Craig Harmes and communications specialist Katie Thomson.
Farmers Electric Cooperative of Kalona, Iowa is a small electric utility but has been recognized nationally for their “can do” solar power development efforts. Under the leadership of General Manager Warren McKenna, they produce high levels of solar power per-customer. They also support their members developing solar power on their own sites. We interviewed Warren McKenna.
Prairie Power, Inc of central Illinois leads their state in cooperative solar development and has the potential to develop more solar. Already they have helped two member cooperatives develop solar farms, with one also doing so independently. Prairie Power also emphasizes energy education. Their member cooperative Spoon River Electric Cooperative has an engaging informational display that can educate people of all ages. We interviewed Robert Reynolds of Prairie Power and Bill Dodds of Spoon River Electric Cooperative.