Farming Co-op Launches Midwest Community Solar Partnership
Organic Valley, a U.S. cooperative of organic farmers, is launching a community solar partnership resulting in over 31 MW of solar in the Midwest.
The project will enable Organic Valley to become 100% renewably powered and share the benefits of solar with its rural neighbors. Last October, Organic Valley committed to achieve 100% renewable power at its corporate facilities.
In total, 13 communities across the Midwest will benefit from the community solar partnership, including six in Organic Valley’s project portfolio. Beyond Organic Valley’s 12.3 MW existing project portfolio, an additional 19 MW will be constructed, resulting in over 31 MW of new solar in the region, including a 33% increase in the state of Wisconsin.
The six communities within Organic Valley’s portfolio that will benefit directly from the community solar partnership include Arcadia, Cashton, La Farge, Merrillan and Viola in Wisconsin, as well as St. Charles in Minnesota. When the projects begin generating power next year, the Arcadia array, sized at 6.78 MW, will be the largest solar array in the state of Wisconsin, according to the co-op.
“Organic Valley is a farmer-owned cooperative with deep roots in the rural Midwest, so it makes sense that we would work together to create new sources of energy right here at home that can be shared by all,” says George Siemon, CEO and a founding farmer of Organic Valley. “We are committed to achieving 100 percent renewable electricity for our cooperative but also sharing the bounty of solar electricity with rural communities where we live and work.”
The projects have resulted from a collaboration between Organic Valley, OneEnergy Renewables and the participating communities. OneEnergy Renewables is a developer of community and utility-scale solar projects across the U.S.
Organic Valley is a founding member of the Climate Collaborative, an organic-industry trade group that convenes businesses to take action and work collaboratively to reverse climate change.