Support a community solar garden or help community members participate in a community renewable energy project by:
a. Serving as a host site for a community solar garden.
b. Facilitating development, by the municipal utility or other entity, of a community solar garden that ensures accessibility and availability to low-income residents.
c. Report city government community solar garden subscriptions, green tag purchases and 3rd party solar purchases under action 15.2.
Like a community garden, or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription arrangement, Community Shared Solar or Community Solar Gardens (which are the same thing) specifically refer to projects whereby subscribers (financial supporters: at least 5) receive an electricity bill credit (of no more than 120% of their average usage) for the electricity generated at one centrally-located photovoltaic panel installation (in the subscriber's county or adjacent county) in proportion to the size of their subscription. See the Local Government Community Solar Toolkit on the web page above, and see voluntary native vegetation and habitat management practices for the footprint of solar installations.
Read about Solarize Kingfield in Minneapolis, a neighborhood group-led project of 2012 that organizes bulk-buying/installation of renewables for businesses and homeowners, resulting in lower per unit costs.
A city can facilitate the bulk buying power of residents, city employees and employees of a large business to allow for discounts on home renewable systems.
Describe how the city supported a bulk-buy program of RE components (for residents, city employees, or employees of a business) or facilitated development of a solar garden to ensure purchases by low-income residents; report number of participants, installed capacity in kW and cost data. Report city government subscriptions to a community solar garden under action 15.2; report brightfield projects under 25.5
Describe the city's role in a Community Solar Garden project (leasing roof space, providing guidance for pollinator habitat on the site, etc.).
Describe a deeper role the city/municipal utility played in creating a Solar Garden, e.g., subscribing municipal utility customers, donated city land, work with your county Community Action program to redirect LIHEAP dollars to a local community solar garden.
Who's doing it
Detroit Lakes - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Starting in 2017, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities offers participation in a community solar garden. The City owned, operated, and maintained solar panels make it easy for businesses and residents to purchase renewable energy generation. In January of 2020, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities will offer 100% renewable energy purchases through its Bright Energy Choices program.
Capture The Sun® is the program at Moorhead Public Service (MPS) that is associated with MPS’ Community Solar Garden Projects.
A “community solar garden” is a collection of solar panels shared with customers who are unable to install and maintain a solar panel system of their own, such as customers with shaded roofs and those who have structures not suitable for solar panels.
MPS' Community Solar Garden is located between MPS’ two Capture The Wind® turbines in north Moorhead.
SOLARCHOICE is a city of Saint Peter program. This community solar is a way to benefit from solar without installing it on the rooftop of properties. Saint Peter now has a Community Solar Garden with thousands of panels. This is an easy way to join the solar movement at a level that is affordable to the people. It allows users/customers the opportunity to gain a level of price certainty by locking in the cost of a portion of future energy usage.
While only 25% of rooftops are suitable for solar installations, community solar provides an equitable way to allow those want more solar to get it without impacting those who do not.
In coordination with MMPA, the City of Arlington rolled out its Clean Energy Choice program. Arlington’s supplier, MMPA, will provide 1 kWh from its Oak Glen Wind Farm, Hometown BioEnergy, or Hometown Wind to the power grid for each kWh that is purchased. At this time, our residential customers can purchase renewable, sustainable energy for a premium of just $0.0175 per kWh for their actual household usage. (If you use 750 kWh/month, that’s an additional $13 per month on your utility bill.)
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Participation in this program is voluntary and on a month-to-month basis. There are no contracts to sign, and no long-term commitment.
Since inception in early 2015, 1% of Arlington's customers have signed up for the service.
Oakdale supported bringing the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's successful bulk purchase program to Minnesota in 2018. The Solar Twin Cities program allows residents and businesses across the Twin Cities area the opportunity to aggregate their solar purchase power to achieve program milestones that result in rebates that make solar more affordable for participants. Oakdale hosted two Solar Power Events at City Hall to allow residents and non-residents alike the opportunity to learn about what solar power is, and how they can participate in the bulk buy program. There was also an opportunity for residents to have their utility bills analyzed by the Citizen's Utility Board, and education on energy efficiency from Center for Energy and Environment. Oakdale will host future cycles of the Solar Twin Cities program as available.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
In this initial offering, Solar Twin Cities secured solar installations totaling 261.84 kW worth of capacity in 35 locations across the metro area.