Koch companies and DEPCOM Power will build what is believed to be the largest solar installation of its kind in the United States. The solar energy generated will help power Flint Hills' Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, south of the Twin Cities – already one of the most efficient refineries in the U.S.
Scottsdale, Arizona-based DEPCOM Power, a Koch Engineered Solutions company, will be the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the $75 million project, which is expected to be completed in 2023.
WHY IT MATTERS: The Pine Bend refinery supplies most of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in Minnesota and across the Upper Midwest.
This project is expected to help lower energy costs, improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.
- The solar installation is Flint Hills’ second source of on-site power generation after the 2019 installation of its Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system, which provides about 50 megawatts of electricity.
- The Pine Bend refinery has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® certification three years in a row – reducing its traditional criteria emissions by 70% since 2000 while increasing production to meet demand.
BY THE NUMBERS:
- At least 100,000 panels will make up the 45-megawatt solar installation, connecting directly to refinery operations – it’s believed to be the largest direct use of solar power in the U.S. where all power being generated is connected directly to a single facility or business.
- The facility’s expected solar energy production is enough electricity to power more than 8,400 homes per year and has a peak capacity of roughly 30% of the refinery’s power needs during optimal conditions.
THE BOTTOM LINE: “You don’t often see utility-scale projects for a single facility and while this may be the first project of its kind at this scale, it won’t be the last. Distributed solar generation is proving to be a competitive and reliable source of power for many energy-intensive industries,” said Justin Bloch, DEPCOM’s President of Solar.