Minnesota Power celebrates construction of Jean Duluth Solar Project

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In just a couple of months, more power of the sun will be flowing into the Minnesota Power grid.

Minnesota Power dedicated its new 1.6-megawatt Jean Duluth Solar project on Wednesday morning. Set off Riley Road, it is made up of 3,770 solar panels made at Heliene in Mt. Iron.

Carrie Ryan, the project manager, said, “This project will be a visible example for the Duluth area of Minnesota Power’s Clean Energy Transformation.”

The panels will track to follow the sun, and can absorb energy bounced off the ground.

Energy from the site will feed Minnesota Power’s overall system, adding renewable solar energy to
the grid that serves the company’s 145,000 customers.

Its output is expected to be about 2,500 megawatt-hours of electricity each year, or enough energy to power nearly 300 homes.

Bethany Owen, President, Chair, and CEO, shared, “This project is more than just solar power and electrons. It was conceived early in the COVID-19 pandemic when the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission challenged energy companies to do our part to help make the state more economically healthy, help our recovery from from the pandemic.”

There was also significant focus on meeting goals of diversity, local contracts, and the use of small businesses.

Plus, the labor unions are pleased to see the support during the transition to a clean economy.

With construction complete, Minnesota Power is working through the commissioning process of connecting the project to the grid. Jean Duluth Solar is expected to be producing energy for customers by early December.

It’s set on about 9 acres of land leased from the city of Duluth.

The other two solar projects that are also underway are in Hoyt Lakes and near Brainerd.