March 1, 2019 Read More →

North Dakota regulators approve state’s first commercial solar project

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

Solar power made a breakthrough in North Dakota after regulators on Feb. 26 approved the first commercial solar farm in the state.

Stacy Eberl, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Public Service Commission, said that while there is a limited amount of rooftop solar in the state, there are no existing utility-scale commercial solar farms. That’s set to change after the Public Service Commission approved by a 2-1 vote Harmony Solar ND LLC’s proposal to build a 200 MW solar farm in Cass County, near the state’s eastern border with Minnesota.

Harmony Solar is a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Geronimo Energy LLC. The $320 million project is expected to come online by Dec. 31, 2020.

The Solar Energy Industries Association ranks North Dakota last in the nation for solar power as of the third quarter of 2018, with less than 1 MW of solar energy installed in the state.

In 2017, about 66% of North Dakota’s net electricity generation came from coal, more than 25% came from wind, while 5% came from conventional hydroelectric power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In 2007, North Dakota enacted legislation establishing an objective that 10% of all retail electricity sold in the state be obtained from renewable and recycled energy by 2015, notes Harmony’s application to the PSC.

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