Source: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
By David Shaffer, Star Tribune
It is by far the biggest in a wave of large, ground-mounted solar arrays that energy companies are planning to build across Minnesota in the next few years . . . The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, is projecting a 30-fold increase in the state’s solar generating capacity by the end of 2017. Hundreds of large shared-solar projects are planned in rural areas and on the urban fringe, including Wright, Dakota and Washington counties, mostly to serve customers of Xcel, the state’s largest power company. Read the entire story here.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Wizards of Waverly Place Big Bet On Solar Power, by Mike Mullen, City Pages.Com
The city located around 40 miles west of Minneapolis expects to get 100 percent of its energy from the solar garden . . . Waverly signed a 25-year contract to get its municipal energy needs met by the solar project, and [Mayor] Holmes estimates it will save about $400,000 over that time. Other consumers in town took to the idea, too: The garden “plots” quickly sold out, with 80 percent of the subscriptions snatched up by individuals, and the remainder going to the city and commercial businesses.
‘Community Solar’ Catching In Wisconsin, by Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio
Many renters and homeowners in the state don’t live in houses where it’s easy to add solar panels. But according to the group RENEW Wisconsin, last year five Wisconsin utilities added centrally located solar farms and let community members subscribe to the electricity.
By Nathan Bowe, DL-Online
In a bright spot for those customers who love solar power, some rural electric cooperative and city municipal electric utilities are offering community solar gardens.
They offer customers the chance to “buy into” solar without having to pay in full up front, and without having to worry about installing and maintaining solar energy units in their homes or businesses.
McClatchy-Tribune Regional News – David Shaffer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
The first community solar garden on Xcel Energy’s electrical system in Minnesota has been sold out and construction is expected to begin later this year, the developer said Monday.
MN Community Solar, which plans to install solar panels atop a Minneapolis commercial building, said 25 subscribers have signed up to share in the output of the array at a maximum cost of about $950 for a 205-watt unit.
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This past Wednesday, September 11, 2013 California’s Legislature approved the largest shared renewable power program in the nation. If Governor Jerry Brown signs it, S.B. 43 will allow investments of up to 600 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power about 100,000 homes. Of that total, 100 MW must be made available to residential customers: www.eenews.net/stories/1059987118
This compares to the 2 megawatts per solar garden proposed in Nebraska’s Solar Gardens Bill (LB557) sponsored by Senator Amanda McGill, and the 100 kilowatts suggested by Lincoln Electric Systems. See, Public Power Groups Oppose Solar Gardens Bill: http://journalstar.com/legislature/public-power-groups-oppose-solar-gardens-bill/article_8de6d84a-f201-5483-b203-fe6d2e398e65.html
Vote Solar is preparing a public petition urging Governor Brown to sign S.B. 43 into law: www.votesolar.org