Stories

Rural electric cooperatives have responded to the popularity and falling costs of solar power in numerous ways. You will find here champions and leaders within the cooperative community who have deployed innovative solar power generation.

This site provides inspirational and educational examples from within the cooperative community for others to learn how to implement solar power.

Connexus Energy

Connexus Energy is an electric distribution cooperative north of Minneapolis in Ramsey, Minnesota, providing 130,000 members with electric power and solar leadership. Connexus embraces rapid change in the power sector by responding to member demands for green energy with cost effective innovations; “I’m excited because it’s a time of great evolution in the industry,” said Connexus CEO, Greg Ridderbusch. We also spoke with Samantha Neral of Connexus and several cooperative members.

Dairyland Power Cooperative

Dairyland Power Cooperative of Wisconsin has become a national solar leader among cooperatives. With their construction of 25 MW of solar, Dairyland is our top solar champion. Under the leadership of CEO Barbara Nick they 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’s solar plans currently include 25 MW of solar at 18 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 

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 in developing solar power on their own sites. We interviewed CEO Warren McKenna.

Prairie Power, Inc.

Prairie Power, Inc. of central Illinois leads their state in cooperative solar development and has the potential to develop more solar. They have already helped two member cooperatives develop solar farms, with one developing another 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.

Connexus Energy

Minnesota

Prairie Power, Inc.

Central Illinois

Farmers Electric Cooperative

Iowa

Dairyland Power Cooperative

Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois
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