Minnesota Community Solar Gardens at Center of Renewable Energy Challenge

Solar Panels in Open Field
Community Solar

Minnesota community solar gardens are at the forefront of a new challenge intended to improve the support of clean energy throughout Northfield. Northfield’s Energy Action Team and the municipality of Northfield have joined together to launch a Renewable Energy Challenge. The challenge is directed toward residents of the city and charges them to have 100% of their electricity covered by renewable resources. Among these resources are local community solar gardens.

The goal of the Renewable Energy Challenge is to convert 100 households to renewable sources by June 15. To do this, homeowners can subscribe 100% of their energy use to sources like Xcel Energy’s Windsource platform and many of Minnesota’s community solar gardens. Those that do switch over will be recognized by the city as a Northfield Clean Energy Supporter on the city’s website.

The challenge stemmed from the 2019 Climate Action Plan, which set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040 for Northfield. According to Northfield program coordinator, Beth Kallestad, there are already over 100 residents that draw all of their electricity from clean sources. The hope is that the challenge will inspire others to join Minnesota community solar gardens and help the cause. Kallestad also confirmed that the challenge was part of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Minnesota has been a recent hotbed for community solar activity. Along with the Renewable Energy Challenge, Excelsior Energy Capital, an investment company, took over new ground-mounted solar projects. Xcel Energy also decided upon 34 acres of land for a new community solar garden.

Northfield’s Energy Action Team is comprised of volunteers looking to participate and implement the plans laid out in the 2019 Climate Action Plan. Local businesses and residents can join to help increase the awareness of clean energy options including community solar gardens and wind farms. The action team also deals with issues pertaining to transportation, food and water, and land use.


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