A few weeks ago at a solar conference in Minneapolis, more than 100 people gathered to learn about a new community solar garden program starting in Minnesota.
The Community Solar Garden Program offers ways for residents to use alternative energy sources. The customers pay a fee based on the cost of panels they buy, and in return they receive a reduction on their monthly utility bills based on the energy generated by those panels. The program offers affordable solar options for people who would otherwise lack the funds funds for a full solar setup.
It also focuses on getting communities to go solar together. By pooling resources and buying panels as a group, a community can save money and give subscribers a lower cost than going it alone.
Minnesota is one of the few states to introduce a program like CSG, and it’s gathering a lot of support. In the last few years, Minnesota has worked hard to become a sustainable state; Midwest Energy News recently reported that community solar projects are surging through outstate communities, especially in Minnesota.
In August, Minnesota Community Solar announced a solar project on a four-acre parcel in the Gaylord Industrial Park. Two more projects are in progress between Gaylord and Red Wing.
Community solar gardens are predicted to be very successful in Minnesota, especially compared to other states. The main reason explaining this success is that our legislation does not cap the number of projects that can be built annually or for the duration of the program.
Colorado, for example, is the leader behind the solar push but is limited because of their legislative cap on projects.
Since solar energy is completely natural, it is considered a clean energy source, which means it does not disrupt the environment or create a threat to eco-systems.
Additionally, solar energy does not cause greenhouse gases, air or water pollution.
With the introduction of programs like Community Solar Gardens, it will be easier for Minnesotans to affordably make a greener footprint, and take the lead with developing alternative energy sources across the country.