Dive Brief:

  • GE Renewable Energy will supply a wind turbine and solar equipment for a unique renewable generation project in Minnesota, which developer Juhl Energy says will be the first commercial integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation facility in the country.
  • The 2 MW project will provide locally-generated energy to the Lake Region Electric Cooperative of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, while Bank of America will purchase the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) it generates.
  • Bank of America’s purchase of the RECs follows a trend of corporate renewable energy purchases, stemming from an increased focus on environmental stewardship. The Minnesota project is expected to cover the bank’s electricity consumption in the state, helping to meet a 2020 environmental operations goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity.

Dive Insight:

Juhl’s hybrid renewable project is small, but significant in a few ways. By combining solar and wind, the company says it will gain efficiencies — a tactic that could be used to broadly grow affordable renewable resources.

“The hybrid design gives these type of projects the ability to produce power when it is most needed, with the solar essentially providing summer peak energy, and the wind providing winter peak energy,” Juhl said in its announcement.

GE Renewable Energy will supply a single 2 MW wind turbine for the project, which will be supported by 500 kW of solar.

The project will use GE’s Wind Integrated Solar Energy technology platform 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,” the companies said. The efficiencies will add 3% to 4% in net capacity and annual energy production could increase 10%.

Bank of America wants to move quickly on sustainability, and that “starts with creative thinking and projects that can help drive more low-carbon energy solutions in our communities,” said Alex Liftman, the bank’s global environmental executive.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, corporate buyers are helping boost clean energy development with record purchases. By August, corporate purchases had reached 7.2 GW, already topping the 2017 record by 1.8 GW, according to a BNEF report.