Community Solar Gardens
For years residents and businesses have had the option to install solar panels on their roofs to offset the amount of electricity they need from Xcel. Many have not been able to though, due to shade coverage, the pitch of their roof, cost, or a host of other reasons.
Now there is a way to use solar power without installing panels on your own roof. Community Solar allows Minneapolis residents and businesses to subscribe to a set of solar panels (a solar garden) located somewhere in Hennepin or adjacent counties. The solar garden is connected to the Xcel grid and you get reimbursed for your panels’ production as a credit on your Xcel bill. As a subscriber you do not own the panels, but your name is associated with a specific portion of the garden output for the duration of the subscription, which allows Xcel to calculate your credit.
The way you subscribe to a Community Solar Garden is through a solar garden Developer, of which there are many. The program is designed to be financially advantageous for the subscriber, but terms vary from one developer to the next, so it is important to ask questions before signing up with one. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) website www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/solargardens is a great resource to learn more about what questions to ask.
There is a lot to know about this emerging energy program. If you would like to learn more, HPDL, along with many other neighboring neighborhoods, are hosting a public education event on Community Solar Gardens Thursday, November 12th, 7:00pm at Mayflower Church.