A new Minnesota community solar farm has powered on in Afton. The Minnesota Department of Transportation allowed for the construction of a new farm off I-94 in the small town of Afton. With the farm’s operation, the city is officially running on renewable energy to power street lights, waste management, buildings, and stormwater lifts.
According to the city’s mayor, Bill Palmquist, the switch to solar through the Minnesota community solar farm is a milestone for Afton. He confirms that, along with offsetting carbon emissions, Afton should save thousands on energy costs per year.
Run by Novel Energy Solutions, the solar farm was installed at an opportune time, Palmquist states. According to him, Afton is currently using an increased amount of energy to keep its stormwater and community sewer systems running. There is even a demand for the St. Croix River clean-water initiatives that the community solar will be providing energy for.
The Novel Energy Solutions farm in Afton is 11-acres and was installed at the site of a former gravel pit. Minnesota Department of Transportation has been using the land for storage and agreed that it could be better used. For the space, Novel Energy is spending $500 per acre per year in rent.
One of the biggest concerns about any community solar project is how it will affect local views. Palmquist confirms that the farm is not visible for any main road, ensuring that residents and passersby won’t even see the completed, operational energy facility.
Along with powering municipality buildings, the Afton community solar farm will serve the local community. By reducing carbon emissions, residents will live in a clear environment. Like most community solar options, homeowners will also be able to tap into the installation and subscribe to benefit from its solar generation. By enrolling with Novel Energy Solutions, they’ll take part in generating clean energy and receive a credit equal to their solar use each month.