MINSTER — The Village of Minster has been named the 2016 Solar Power Players Awards Public Power Utility of the Year by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).
Now in their eighth year, the awards recognize electric utilities and their industry partners for creating programs embodying the innovation and collaboration that drives smart utility solar growth and expands consumer access to distributed energy technologies.
Chosen by a seven-member panel of judges with diverse experience in the utility and solar industries, the Village of Minster and winners in four other categories will be honored at an awards luncheon Sept. 13 during Solar Power International in Las Vegas.
An hour north of Dayton and with a population of 2,850, the Village of Minster may appear an unlikely innovator, but earlier this year, it brought a solar-plus-storage project online. With 4.2 megawatts (MW) of solar, 7 MW of storage and four healthy revenue streams, the project is the first of its kind developed by a public power authority, and the village is already fielding visits from other towns interested in studying its model. The project was initially planned as a standalone solar plant, but added storage following Ohio’s decision to put its renewable energy mandate on hold, a move that undercut the project’s original funding plan.
“The Village of Minster has overcome government and market barriers to establish complex relationships with stakeholders to make this project economically feasible for its customers,” said Awards Judge Paul Belnick, vice president of Integrated Grid at New York Power Authority, which was SEPA’s 2015 Public Power Utility of the Year. “By adding the storage to solar, Minster has been able to increase the value of the solar array to its customers through revenue stacking…and demonstrate its forward-thinking leadership.”
“What we see with Minster — and our other Solar Power Player winners — is the increasingly competitive economics of solar and other distributed technologies, such as storage, driving a new willingness among utilities and the solar industry to innovate and collaborate,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA’s president and CEO. “Moving toward a clean energy future means we will need many more projects like this one, designed to provide benefits to both customers and the grid.”
“The Minster project sets the stage for a new wave of solar with storage projects that will ultimately become community-owned micro grids,” said David Dwyer, president of American Renewable Energy, the developer of the Minster project. “Minster has shown itself to be a national leader in public power.”
“The Village of Minster is honored to be the winner of the Public Power Utility of the year. There have been a number of major public power utilities awarded this honor previously, such as the New York Power Authority and Orlando Utilities Commission, and it is such an honor to be in the company of these other winners” said Village of Minster Administrator Donald Harrod.
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit working to facilitate the utility industry’s transition to a clean energy future through education, research and collaboration. SEPA offers a range of research initiatives and resources, as well as
conferences, educational events and professional networking opportunities. SEPA is co-founder and co-sponsor of Solar Power International. For more information, visit www.sepapower.org.