By Tara Mathews
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN A 96-panel solar farm was recently constructed near the Lester Prairie wastewater treatment facility along McLeod County Road 9, that will save the city money and produce oxygen.
“It will save the city $1,000 per year for the next 15 years,” Innovative Power Systems’ Vice President of Business Development Eric Pasi said. “And will save $7,000 - $8,000 over the following 15 years.”
The solar farm will produce about 52,000 kilowatt hours annually, and last about 30 years.
“Not to mention, it emits the amount of oxygen equivalent to 5,000 trees,” Lester Prairie Mayor Eric Angvall said.
“Over a 30-year period, the solar farm is expected to produce about 1 million pounds of oxygen,” Pasi noted.
It also saves about 100,000 gallons of water that would be used in central power plant processing, according to Pasi.
“The system was officially operating about two weeks ago,” Angvall added.
The solar farm in Lester Prairie is a new TenK System, which is manufactured in Bloomington, that is designed to boost performance, decrease wind problems, and continue working when part of it is shaded or covered.
“The portion of the panel that is not shaded or covered will continue to draw power,” Pasi commented. “Whereas, other models will shut down the entire panel if part of it is shaded.”
The panels are also designed to reflect back to other panels any rays that would normally deflect, which creates a 10 percent boost in performance, he noted.
Small town solar farm leaders
“I have no official information, but I would say Lester Prairie has a high percentage of solar farms based on the population,” Angvall stated. “Fred Holasek has one at the greenhouse, I have one above the hardware store, Jerry Stibal has one just outside of town, and now the city has one also.”
Pasi agreed that Lester Prairie has a lot of solar farms based on its population and number of businesses.
“I would bet that Lester Prairie is high ranking in its percentage of solar farms to people, especially in this area,” he noted.