Basin Electric to add more solar power in Montana

Basin Electric has signed another contract to add more solar energy to the resource portfolio, a result of the cooperative’s continuing goal of providing a diverse mix of cost-effective energy for its members.

Custer Solar, a 20-megawatt solar project to be located in Yellowstone County, Montana, was approved in April, and the contract signed with Energy of Utah, a solar developer, in June. This is a purchase in adherence with PURPA regulations. PURPA, a federal law passed in the late 1970s, requires utilities to buy the output of generation facilities that meet set criteria at a utility’s avoided cost.

“This project is another example of how we are trying to diversify our portfolio,” said Becky Kern, Basin Electric director of long-term utility planning. “We have been evaluating solar for a number of years. It used to be that prices in solar were on the higher side, compared to other options that were available to us. Now in the last one to two years, solar prices have come down quite a bit and they are more economical compared to where they were previously.”

The project is set to be operational in late 2023 or early 2024. With the addition of this contract, Basin Electric has plans to bring on more than 300 megawatts of solar capability within the next three years. See a list of committed projects under the About Us section on this website.

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