The Village of Minster in Ohio received an American Public Power Association Energy Innovator Award at the Association's national conference in Orlando, Florida. This award recognizes utility programs that have demonstrated advances in the development or application of creative, energy-efficient techniques or technologies, provide better service to electric customers or projects that increase the efficiency of utility operations or resource efficiency. Judging criteria also includes transferability and takes into account project scope in relation to utility size.
The Village developed a 4.2 MW solar array tied to a 7 MW storage system - becoming the first project in the public power community to combine solar and storage technology. The project was made possible through an innovative public/private partnership developed privately on public land with the Village entering into a power purchase agreeement with a developer, resulting in rates far lower than the standard market rate. The storage system reduces peak load and generates revenue through land rental payments, which are then fed back into the budget and used to purchase the power generated from the solar array. The project resulted in transmission and capacity savings of $120,000, lowered electrical peak demand, and proved that even small utilities can undertake ambitious distributed generation projects.