Farmington, MN has reported that its community solar savings are expected to stretch beyond $361,000 over 25 years. Currently, it has seen savings of more than $6,400 on its electricity costs over four months.
The community solar program powering Farmington was installed to help reduce power costs for the municipality and its residents. Plans for the installation began in 2015, when the city started to explore the concept of community solar. City development director Adam Kienberger states that they didn’t move on a plan until 100% sure about its benefits.
Kienberger continues, stating that the City Council agreed to the money-saving project because of the value of clean solar energy. He also confirms that the city locked in a fixed savings rate throughout the 25-year contract, which would help the city plan for future budgeting.
Among the buildings receiving power from the solar project and generating community solar savings for Farmington are City Hall, a senior center, and Schmitz-Maki. They all receive credits on their monthly utility bill equal to the power they are subscribed to. The city itself is subscribed to two Faribault-based gardens and is looking to expand to an additional three by Q4 2020. With its subscriptions, Farmington has saved the equivalent of more than 1 million pounds of coal, Nokomis Energy claims.
The energy company’s community engagement director, Corey Orehek, spoke on the city’s participation, stating that perks for taxpayers were a primary concern for the city. Orehek confirmed that the city could start saving money by using community solar without having to change any of its infrastructures.
According to current guidelines, landowners in Farmington that are customers of Xcel Energy can also have solar gardens built on their property. This would further enhance the production of solar energy for Farmington and come with cost-saving benefits for the homeowner.