Bemidji Solar Co-op celebrates success

By Ben Delman on May 16, 2019
Charles Parson from Beltrami Electric Cooperative addresses celebration attendees.

After the first attempt was thwarted by a spring snow storm, the Bemidji Solar Co-op gathered last month at Bemidji Brewing to celebrate the completion of the group. It was also an opportunity to recognize the partners and individuals who were instrumental in making the Bemidji Solar Co-op a success. More than a dozen Bemidji-area homeowners had solar installed on their homes as part of the bulk purchase group.

Solar co-op participants worked together to learn about solar energy and if going solar was right for them. A selection committee composed of participants met to select one installer to serve the group. They selected Wolf Track Energy. The installer then developed personalized proposals for each participant based on the group price.

At the event, the solar co-op honored Beltrami Electric Cooperative as a Solar Champion for its help connecting member-owners to solar through the solar co-op.

“We intend to be a reliable source of information regarding things electrical in our service area, said Beltrami Electric Director Charles Parson. “When Solar United Neighbors asked to use our community room for their meetings, we were happy to provide the space and had our principal outreach staff attend to answer any questions about incorporating residential solar into our distribution network.”

Beltrami serves more than 17,000 member-owners across Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, and Koochiching Counties. Beltrami took the opportunity of member-owners going solar to educate them about components required to have reliable service. Beltrami also enables its member-owners to subscribe to a solar garden and a wind energy program.

Bemidji State University Office of Sustainability, Security Bank USA, Harmony Food Co-op, and the Clean Energy Resource Teams were co-sponsors of the solar co-op.