Community Solar Garden
Minnesota Power’s community solar garden is a simple way for customers to participate in solar without having 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 suitable for generating electricity from the sun.
Customers offset their energy use through subscriptions made in 1-kilowatt (kW) blocks, with each block representing a portion of the total generating capacity of the solar garden. At the end of each month, Minnesota Power calculates the total amount of solar energy produced by the garden that month, divides that production by the total number of subscription blocks in the program (1,040), and credits customer bills according to their number of subscription blocks.
Option 1: Upfront payment—$2,132.15 per kilowatt
Option 2: Fixed monthly subscription fee—$15.62 per kilowatt
Option 3: Fixed charge for each kilowatt—11.15 cents per kilowatt-hour
Each option is generally financially equal to the others over time, given the amount of energy that is expected to be produced from the solar garden. However, there are different risks. For example, customers choosing Options 1 or 2 will pay the same amount, regardless of whether the solar garden produces more or less energy than expected. Customers choosing Option 3 will pay for all of the energy produced, regardless of whether it is more or less than expected.
You’re encouraged to choose a subscription size that meets your needs. The total subscription will be limited to 120 percent of the average amount of electricity you used in the 12 months prior to the date of your application to the program. Subscriptions are limited to a maximum size of 20 kW.
We’ll monitor customer subscriptions for the first five years of the program to ensure that the subscription size you selected is appropriate based on your energy usage.
All community solar garden subscribers will receive a credit on their electric bill for the energy produced from their share of the solar garden. Customers who choose Option 3 will also be charged a fixed fee per kilowatt-hour of energy produced by their share of the solar garden.
The solar garden will produce more energy in summer than in winter, so there may be times when you have more solar energy than you can use in a given month. In these cases, the extra solar energy credits will be “banked” and carried over to be used as a bill credit in months when less solar energy is produced or you use more energy.
The program costs will be fixed over the 25-year life of the program, which gives customers protection against potentially rising energy costs.
The following link will bring you to the customer agreement. You can fill it out to get your subscription to the garden.
Interested or need more information?
Check out the Community Solar User’s Guide for more details.
Join our interest list and a Minnesota Power representative will contact you with more information about your specific questions and needs.
Minnesota Power Community Solar Pilot Program FAQs
What is a community solar garden (CSG)?
Who can participate?
Where is the CSG located?
For more information call 218-355-3720, or email email@example.com.