Juhl Energy, GE Build 1st Solar-Wind Hybrid Project

The hybrid technology is designed to generate power efficiently during peak demand in both summer and winter.

Juhl Energy has selected GE Renewable Energy to supply equipment for the first commercial integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation project in the U.S. The Minnesota-based energy company developed the 2 MW community-based renewable energy project to provide low-cost, locally generated energy to the Lake Region Electric Cooperative of Pelican Rapids, Minn.

Bank of America handled the financial support for the project, agreeing to purchase the project’s renewable energy certificates (RECs). The acquisition will cover the bank’s electricity usage in the state and will contribute to its 2020 environmental operations goal of purchasing 100 percent renewable energy. 3Degrees facilitated the connection between Juhl Energy and Bank of America.

Juhl is partnering with Menasha, Wis.-based Faith Technologies Inc. to construct the project and collaborate on building additional hybrid projects. The project, anticipated to be operational before the end of 2018, will be owned by a subsidiary of Juhl Energy that pools together capital from the company and outside private investors. 

Combining powers

The project will use one 2.0-116 wind turbine from GE Renewable Energy’s Onshore Wind business, supported by 0.5 MW of photovoltaic solar. It uses GE’s Wind Integrated Solar Energy (WiSE) technology platform—developed through GE’s global research center—to directly integrate the solar panels through the wind turbine’s converter so both wind and solar share the same balance of plant, increasing system net capacity by 3-4 percent, and annual energy production by up to 10 percent. The hybrid design enables this type of projects to produce power when it is most needed—solar providing summer peak energy, and wind providing winter peak energy.

“Distributed generation will play a major role in the implementation of renewable energy in the U.S. electrical market in the years to come,” Dan Juhl of Juhl Energy said in prepared remarks. “Projects such as this one, with Juhl Energy’s package design and GE hybrid technology, will economically blend clean, renewable energy into the electric grid at a lower cost, plus add reliability to the system.”

Image courtesy of GE Renewable Energy