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Community Solar Garden

Minnesota Power’s first community solar garden, to be generating electricity late this year, will be a simple way for customers to participate in solar without the need to install a system on their own home or business. It’s a safe, flexible and convenient choice for customers who want to go solar but either rent or don’t have a location that is well-suited to generating electricity from the sun.

Customers will have three options for participating:*

  • Fixed charge for each kilowatt-hour of solar energy produced from a subscription. The customer purchases all the solar energy produced from their subscribed amount of capacity.

  • Fixed monthly subscription fee, which is essentially the upfront payment financed over the length of the contract. The customer receives a bill credit for the energy produced from their subscription. This option is comparable to a rooftop installation financed over time.

  • Upfront payment. Subscribers pay a onetime fee and receive a monthly energy credit of kilowatt-hours based on their subscription. This option is most comparable to a traditional rooftop solar installation.


Minnesota Power Community Solar Pilot Program FAQs

A CSG is a solar array that is divided into 1 kW blocks that customers can subscribe to in order to meet part or all of their energy needs. Solar garden subscribers will receive credit for the energy produced from their subscription with their monthly billing and be able to enjoy the benefits of solar energy without needing to install a system on their own home or business.

Minnesota Power retail customers may participate in the CSG program. Those who filed to be exempt from the Solar Energy Standard costs (Docket No. E999/CI-13-542) would not be eligible. Exempt customers include iron mining facilities, paper mills, saw mills and wood products manufacturers.

Customers can choose from three options: an upfront one-time payment, a fixed monthly subscription fee or a fixed charge per kilowatt-hour.

  • Upfront payment: $2,132.15 per kilowatt.
  • Monthly subscription fee: $15.62 a month per kilowatt.
  • Fixed charge per kilowatt-hour: 11 cents per kilowatt-hour.

All of the options are based on 25-year agreements, but customers will have the flexibility to leave the program at any time without penalty.

The cost for a residential customer who typically uses about 750 kilowatt-hours a month and wants to replace their current energy with solar energy will range from about $81 for a customer that chooses a monthly subscription fee to about $95 a month for a customer that chooses a fixed charge per kilowatt-hour. Subscriptions will be offered in 1-kilowatt blocks and customers will be able to choose to purchase enough to cover all or a portion of their monthly electricity needs.

The CSG prices are subject to approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and may change slightly, although they are not expected to be higher than the amounts listed above.

Two solar arrays will make up Minnesota Power’s first community solar garden. A 40-kilowatt array will be located on the corner of Arrowhead Road and Rice Lake Road in Duluth, Minnesota. A 1-megawatt array is expected to be built on open land in Wrenshall, Minnesota.

For more information call 218-355-3720, or email solarprogram@mnpower.com.

Solar in our communities
Solar in our communities

Take a look at how other Minnesota Power customers are successfully using solar energy in your area.

*Subject to approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC).


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