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Thursday, March 5th, 2015
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RenewableRays project a shining success


By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Jan 26th, 2015
Posted in Rushford Village Progress Edition

Tri-County Electric expanded their business into solar energy. Photo by Kirsten Zoellner



As the bandwagon for renewable energy rolls on, energy cooperatives are joining in the efforts, despite not being afforded the same tax breaks as private energy firms. By and large, solar arrays, dubbed “gardens,” are popping up not just in large cities, but are quickly emerging in rural communities like Rushford Village.

At the headquarters for Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TEC), situated between Highways 16 and 30 in the Village, a 180-unit solar garden shimmers in the sun just west of the facility. The cooperative’s 25 acre site is an ideal location for the units and has drawn much enthusiasm from cooperative members, as well as the public. The first solar garden in the area, the project was initially designed for just half the size of the final system, but shortly after the project was announced, the units sold out. “The TEC Board at that time authorized us to almost double the size of the project,” notes Ted Kjos, Vice President of Marketing and External Relations. “The members have responded in kind with 86% of the total units subscribed at this time.”

The successful solar model is now being utilized by cooperatives across the country. “TEC definitely views the program as a very positive step,” continues Kjos. “The reason for the project in the first place was to offer members who have a strong interest in renewable energy an option to purchase locally produced electric energy to offset some or all of their electrical needs.”

The road to solar energy production wasn’t necessarily a smooth one, however. “It wasn’t an easy process to get to where we are today,” stated TEC President and CEO Brian Krambeer in the official ribbon cutting last September. “There were many discussions, meetings and paperwork to create a business model for a non-profit utility like ours to offer community solar to our members.”

Due to legislation, TEC noted problems making a community solar project appealing to participating members. “The TEC Board of Directors and Advisory Committee challenged management to work with others to pave a way for the cooperative to own a project like Renewable Rays. We believed that members would be more interested in this project if it were owned by us, a company they know and trust, instead of a third party that offered no previous relationship,” added Krambeer.

Following assistance from National Renewables Cooperative O .....
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City of Rushford Village implements comprehensive plan

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jan 24th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Progress Edition

Following a thorough fiscal impact report and public input session last July and the restructure of a planning and zoning commission last fall, the City of Rushford Village concluded a long-term effort to develop a modern and workable comprehensive p ..... 
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