Panel installation begins for Lincoln Park Solar Garden

Updated: September 16, 2020 11:01 PM

While sunny skies aren't always in our forecast, a new bright light is on the horizon for the Lincoln Park neighborhood for generating clean energy.

Crews began installing the first of four solar panels that will make up the Lincoln Park Solar Garden on Wednesday. The 40 kilowatt array will help power a transitional housing facility for homeless vets called the Duluth Veterans' Place. 

Even beyond that, project coordinators hope it can be used to build energy of a different kind for the community.

"We see the site not only as a place for power generation but also for community engagement,” said Lucas Giese, AmeriCorps VISTA Program Coordinator. “Beyond the solar which we are putting in here and completing in the next week or so, we're hoping to develop this site with other community amenities and are working with our neighbors to see how we can best use this site as a place for education, community gardens.” 

Along with helping the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MAC-V) operated housing, the solar panels will seed an emergency energy fund dedicated to assisting low-income families in times of crisis. Ecolibrium3 and the AmeriCorps VISTA Program are helping install the solar garden.

"One thing that Ecolibrium 3 is certainly focused on is connecting the assistance that we can provide with this array with some of our other weatherization programs,” said Giese. “We have some in home programs to make improvements lower income families homes and help them break the cycle of energy poverty.”

A final "flip-the-switch" celebration is planned for later this year in commemoration for the project’s completion.

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