First solar garden in Minneapolis sold out

  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 6:22 PM

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.

Company CEO Ken Bradley said subscribers signed up for one to 29 units, with several deciding on five or six. He said the final cost will be clear after state utilities regulators approve pricing and other terms under a 2013 state law that authorized solar gardens by the state’s largest electric utility.

People who invest in a solar garden share its power output, but don’t have to maintain the equipment because servicing is part of a long-term contract.

The projects are popular with people who want clean energy and are renters or don’t own a suitable location for solar. Electricity sales are credited to subscribers’ bills, so only customers of the local utility are eligible to participate.

Bradley said the $261,000, 39-kilowatt solar array will use panels produced by TenKsolar of Bloomington. It will be built atop the Northern Sun Merchandising building at 2916 E. Lake St. in south Minneapolis. He said MN Community Solar also has signed a deal with two Edina nonprofits to develop a solar garden in or near that city.

David Shaffer

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