TUESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER, 2013 |
Minnesota's First Community Owned Solar Farm
The WH Solar Community, the first community owned solar project in Minnesota,
has been officially opened.
While not a huge solar farm (just 171 panels), the facility is also the first of
its kind to incorporate battery storage.
Each member purchased one or more solar panels and will receive a kilowatt-hour credit on their
power bill each month. The credit is based on the number of panels purchased, as well as the amount of the energy produced by the solar array each month.
"The WH Solar Community is a great way for members to own local generation and participate in the excitement of solar in bite size
pieces," said Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association
(WH) president and CEO Mark Vogt when the project was originally announced.
"Our solar community model makes it easy for members to own solar without installing equipment on their property or worrying about maintaining their
This project quickly sold out and WH says it is now taking reservations for panels in a second solar community, which will likely be built
WH is a member-owned non-profit electric utility servicing Wright County and the western part of Hennepin
County. The utility currently services 46,000 accounts.
The concept of community-owned solar has been popular in Australia; but of the
dozens of communities wanting to develop wind and solar farms; few
have received funding
to assist in the early stages.
In the lead-up to the Federal Election, the Australian Greens unveiled details
of its Australian
Community Renewable Energy Plan
; a fully costed $100 million initiative over
5 years to provide funding for feasibility grants, project management and
specialist expertise for community owned renewable energy projects.
Community solar farms are particularly attractive to investors who for whatever
reason are not able to install solar panels on their own premises, but wish to
play a role in Australia's clean energy future.
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