Minneapolis signs on to two more community solar gardens

Agreements will save money, provide electricity for municipal operations, allow for low-income households’ participation

The Minneapolis City Council has approved two community solar garden subscription agreements to provide electricity for municipal operations. These subscriptions increase the amount of renewable energy in Xcel Energy’s resource mix and save electricity costs for the City at the same time. The agreements with RenaSola and Renewable Energy Partners will save the City an anticipated $28,000 a year for 25 years.

With these agreements, the City serves as an anchor subscriber, opening up cost savings for low-income households eligible to participate. The two developers, Renewable Energy Partners and RenaSola, propose gardens that could assist up to 800 low-income households each, with each household saving $300-$400 each year in electricity costs.

The agreement with RenaSola provides the City with a term of 25 years for up to 680,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. With an electrical utility credit, the City expects to save $5,500 the first year and $550,000 over the 25-year term of the agreement.

The agreement with Renewable Energy Partners is for a term of 25 years for up to 310,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. With an electrical utility credit, the City expects to save $2,000 annually for a savings of $142,000 over the 25-year term of the agreement.

The City of Minneapolis will participate in these chosen gardens at an initial subscription level of 20 percent of the gardens’ output, equaling a total of up to 1 million kWh annually for municipal operations. This will bring the City’s total community solar garden subscription level to 8.5 million kWh annually overall.