Minnesota Power Unveils Community Solar Garden Program

Taylor Holt
November 02, 2017 08:05 PM

A nearly completed 9-acre community solar garden now sits in Wrenshall. Minnesota Power unveiled the garden tot he public Thursday.

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The garden will be part of their pilot program and effort to grow renewable energy use.

"It's an option for customers that are not able to do solar on their own home or business roof top. It's designed to deliver that solar energy to homeowners and business right here," said Fred Fredrickson, Vice President of Marketing for Minnesota Power.

Fredrickson says he has high hopes for the benefits their new one megawatt solar garden will provide.

"By doing these community solar gardens not only do we make it more economical, we make it more feasible for our customers to participate with local renewable energy," said Fredirckson.

Thursday, community members, customers and officials had the opportunity to tour the facility and see where the project stands. The garden is still an active site but right now, the project is more than halfway finished.

By the end end of November, 43 hundred panels will be put up.

Energy for the program will come from two solar arrays - the one megawatt one in Wrenshall and Minnesota Power's other array on Arrowhead Road.

"Renewable energy is something that is extremely important to us," said UMD Chancellor, Lendley Black. UMD is one of the partners for the project. They have subscribe to the program supporting local renewable energy.

"We've made a commitment at UMD to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2020," said Black.

The City of Duluth is another partnership. They also invested $900 thousand from the city's reserve fund into the program. The Mayor says it an investment that will have a great impact locally.

"This purchase for us accounts for about 14 percent of the electricity we use in our city property and our facilities. That includes Bayfront Park, Wade Stadium, Wheeler Field, our lakewalk," said Mayor Emily Larson. "This is the kind of investment that touches many parts of the city."

The project will be done at the end of November and start energizing in December. 

People who want to participate can get involved through Minnesota Power's website. There are several options for participating including a one time fee, monthly subscription or fixed charge for eah kilo-watt hour of solar energy produced from a subscription.


Taylor Holt

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