Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric was formed on October 10, 1936, when Waseca Cooperative Electric and Steele County Cooperative Electric were merged into one organization with a combined membership of 860. Since its beginning, the cooperative has grown steadily to its present membership of more than 8,000. A growing membership and increased loads created the need for power, lines and facilities. Today, SWCE has more than 1,900 miles of line and 16 substations for its 900-square-mile service territory.
Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric (SWCE) has plans to construct a 250-panel solar array on the property of the co-op’s headquarters in Owatonna. An innovative approach to community solar has been developed to drive down the up-front cost for SWCE members to participate. The Sunna (pronounced SOO-nah) Project allows any member to subscribe to the solar community program, and in return, be allocated the energy produced by their subscribed panel(s) to offset their monthly electric bill. To participate in The Sunna Project, members need to subscribe for (1) 410-watt solar panel for $170, and participate in the co-op’s 16-hour Storage Water Heater program.
SWCE members, who wish to subscribe for a solar panel, but not participate in The Sunna Project, can pay $1,225 for their panel and also earn the subscribed energy production allocation. Any member wishing to subscribe for additional panels will pay $1,225 per panel. Members are limited to subscribing to 20 panels or the equivalent number of panels that would produce their average annual energy usage, whichever is less.