Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 26.6

GreenStep City Best Practices: Resilient Economic and Community Development
Renewable Energy No. 26

Remove barriers to and encourage installation of renewable energy generation capacity.

Best Practice Action 6

Report installed private sector-owned renewable energy/energy efficient generation capacity with at least one of the following attributes:

a. Fueled by sun, wind, or biogas.
b. Fueled in part or whole by manure or woody (EAB) biomass, optimized for minimal air and other environmental impacts and for energy efficiency and water conservation.
c. Distributing heating/cooling services in a district energy system.
d. Producing combined heat and power; using a microgrid.
e. Energy storage integrated into a renewable energy installation.

1 star Describe existing installations. Report city government community solar garden subscriptions and green tag purchases under BPA 15.2; report third party solar purchases under BPA 26.5; report municipal wastewater biogas projects under BPA 20.6; solid waste anaerobic digestion under BPA 22.5; municipal geothermal under BPA 1.7; brightfield projects under BPA 25.5.
2 star Report installed kW capacity.
3 star Report utility-scale projects (for example, a 1+ MW community solar garden). Link to stories or case studies that provide more detail about the private sector projects and share any workforce training efforts or work with local, Minority, Disability, and Women-Owned businesses associated with projects. Report city government energy purchases from this garden under action 15.2.

Who's doing it

Austin - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Wind farms
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer) | janetanderson2840@gmail.com | 5072190680
Partners: City, County, Austin Utiliites
Cologne - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
Signed a 25 year agreement with Sunshare to 100% off-set our electricity usage through Xcel with the use of a series of solar gardens in and around Carver County.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jesse Dickson (City staff) | jessed@colognemn.com | 952-466-2064
Partners: Sunshare
Elk River - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The Elk River Utilities and Waste Management Landfill Gas-to-Energy plant creates 3.2MW of electricity using landfill generated methane gas. The plant uses the methane created by the trash at the Waste Management Landfill outside of Elk River to create electricity.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The Landfill gas-to-Energy Plant creates enough energy to power 2,400 Elk River homes annually. Plans are being discussed to double the plant.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff) | ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov | 763-635-1068
Partners: Elk River Municipal Utiltiles; Waste Management
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
Fond du Lac is working to support community members in installing renewable energy systems in residential homes. Currently, 4 residential 3kw solar electric power systems, 1 solar electric hot water system, and 7 solar hot air systems have been installed. Together, these systems generate 13.5kw of renewable solar energy. FDL is in the process of designing a zero net energy home.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Cost data for these systems will be used to develop a model to apply these systems to sites of different scales and individuals with varying budgets. Performance data from these residential systems will be used to guide the process for designing additional systems.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shannon Judd (City Staff) | shannonjudd@fdlrez.com | 218-878-7123
Partners:
Grand Rapids - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
In 2020 Grand Rapids Public Utilities (GRPU) partnered with wholesale power supplier Minnesota Power to contract for installation of a 2 MW solar array on City-owned land. The project includes a one megawatt/2.5 hour energy storage battery. Construction was completed in November 2021. Minnesota Power owns the array but the energy generated by the system is passed through to GRPU customers through the local grid.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bill Schnell (Community Volunteer) | bschnel50@gmail.com | 2183983079
Partners: Minnesota Power
Jordan - 3 star
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The City of Jordan has an agreement in place with SunShare to participate in their new Solar garden.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Partners:
Mankato - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City is currently coordinating with two potential solar farms in the area. One smaller, approximately 1 acre array will be located on the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Loyola Catholic School campus and will be used to service the campus electrical needs as well as for educational purposes. Approvals for this project area anticpated by July 2014. A second, larger, active 47-acre solar array adjacent to the eastern boundary of the City is currently in planning stages and would produce 5.5 megawatts of electricity. Completion of this project is slated for 2016.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff) | mwestman@mankatomn.gov | 507-387-8571
Partners:
North Branch - 3 star
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The 100 MW (AC) North Star Solar Project is located in Chisago County, Minnesota – approximately four miles southeast of North Branch, MN. The project connects to the grid at the Chisago Substation, a point of significant transmission infrastructure and strong electrical ties to Xcel Energy load. The North Star Solar Project provides Xcel Energy with a cost-effective and efficient solution to meeting their 1.5 percent solar energy requirement in Minnesota. The Project was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The North Star Solar Project is the largest solar energy facility in the Midwest, producing enough energy to power approximately 20,000 homes.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Partners:
Red Wing - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
In 2016, the City of Red Wing entered into a solar garden subscription for 5,737,500 kWh annually with solar garden provider Innovative Power Systems (IPS). The subscription should come near to providing 100% of the City's electrical use. IPS has built its first solar garden at large site provided by the Red Wing School District. The new 5 MW solar array recently went into production and the City has begun purchasing solar power in January 2017. Then new RW School District garden will supply 57% of the City’s solar garden subscription.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The rest of the City's solar subscription will come online when IPS has finished building more gardens. The solar garden subscription is a 25-year agreement which will save the City a conservative estimate of $6.6 million.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff) | paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us | 651-410-6744
Partners: Innovative Power Systems and the Red Wing School District
Scandia - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The City of Scandia executed a fixed discount value-of-solar agreement with US Solar
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The Community Solar Garden Allocation is expected to produce 127,771 kWh annually. The City will realize savings of $0.01 per kWh produced.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Neil Soltis (City staff) | n.soltis@ci.scandia.mn.us | 651-433-2274
Partners: US Solar
Hackensack - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
Paws and Claws Pet Rescue and Resort has a 40 kW solar array. The building is also energy efficient, and the grounds include walking trails and pollinator gardens.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
Partners: Paws and Claws; Clean Energy Resource Teams
Hopkins - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Depot Coffee House was one of the projects selected by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the Solar Energy Legacy Grant. The Grant, worth $37,000, was awarded to the Depot through their partnership with Three Rivers Park District. With this grant the Depot has installed solar panels on the roof, which had lead to great educational opportunities and raised community awareness about alternative energy and sustainability.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
A Year in the Sun- Solar Report

*Annual electric went from- $6,400 to $4,200
*Power generated this year- 11,535 kWh
*Power generated since June 2011- 18,998 kWh
*Generation this YTD 2012 is equivalent to:

*The impact of 10 tons of CO2 Saved
*The impact of 1,119 Gallons of Gas Saved
*The impact of 249 trees planted
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Chuck Autio (City staff) | Cautio@hopkinsmn.com | 952-548-6378
Partners:
Richfield - 2 star
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10 households have on site solar panels/arrays installed on their homes, totaling 64 kW. 119 Xcel customers also subscribe to community solar gardens, totaling 688 kW.
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Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Russ Lupkes (City staff) | rlupkes@richfieldmn.gov | 6128619175
Partners: Xcel Energy
Burnsville - 1 star
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Waste Management ahs a methane collection and generation plant by the city landfill. This plant convert's the methane produced by the landfill into electricity. This electricity is then sold to electric utility companies.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff) | basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us | 952-895-4524
Partners:
Hutchinson - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
In addition to multiple private solar PV systems the City recently entered into agreement with Hutchinson Utilities to construct a solar PV array over 2 acres of land owned by the City.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John Paulson (City staff) | jpaulson@ci.hutchinson.mn.us | 320-234-5682
Partners:
Kasson - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
In mid-2021, consecutively with the solar ordinance adoption by the City Council, the City began accepting residentail roof-mounted solar applications. The process is managed by our contractor NOVA Power Systems. At 12/31/21 we had 3 solar installations.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nancy Zaworski (City staff) | financedept@cityofkasson.com | 507-634-6321
Partners:
Pine River - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
In 2006 Winkelman's Environmentally Responsible Construction (WERC) installed a small wind turbine on the Hunt Utilities Group campus in Pine River. The turbine was made possible in part by a $20,000 grant from Minnesota Power. In addition to the project description linked to below, you can see a Lakeland Public Television short on the HUG turbine here:
http://www.ecowerc.com/projects/audio_video/werc-hug-nibbe-sm.wmv *** Also, the community's GreenStep Task Force has been actively looking into a small hydroelectric power system for the dam on Norway Lake. So far we have obtained an initial feasibility report from Northland Engineering, and investigated possible safety and environmental permitting issues with the help of the DNR and other partners. *** Finally, the Pine River Area Sanitary District, a private entity that treats much of Pine River's wastewater, has solar hot water panels installed on its facility. (Note that this is "renewable energy generating capacity," but solar technology isn't included in the list of attributes specified in this Best Practice action - so the PRASD panels technically don't fulfill this action. Still, it seems like progress worth mentioning!) The Pine River GreenStep Task Force and RREAL are planning to encourage PRASD to fix a problem with their hot water panels, which currently are broken.
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For more information contact:
Partners:
Rochester - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
Presented in February 2012 to Kepware Technologies, Inc. for its support of a building automation system at Cascade Meadow. In order to bring data from power production systems, building power consumption meters, and other building mechanical systems together into one database, Cascade Meadow looked to Integrated Technology Engineering, a local firm, and Kepware. Today data from three separate systems can be monitored from one central dashboard, providing instant information about the energy efficiency of the Center – information that’s shared with visitors to the site and used for educational forums.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jeff Ellerbusch (City staff) | ellerbusch.jeff@CO.OLMSTED.MN.US | 507-328-7132
Partners: