A Minneapolis utility company is seeking to use 34-acres of land to construct a new Minnesota community solar garden. Xcel Energy proposed the site, which is located near the Valmont Generation Station and North 75th Street in the City of Boulder.
The proposed new garden would be a 4-megawatt solar system, ground-mounted across 20 acres of property. Xcel Energy hopes to expand its Minnesota community solar garden’s benefits to low-incoming consumers throughout Boulder. If approved, the garden would be part of the Solar Rewards Community Program, which delivers credits and perks to residential subscribers.
Xcel Energy is still waiting on approval before beginning construction, but the 20-acre area was found to meet the necessary standards. However, for the utility company to use the land, it must follow local guidelines. Among them is ensuring the land surrounding the garden is filled in with suitable landscaping and foliage. Xcel would also have to bring in two Osprey nests. Currently, surrounding the space is residential property, general industrial zoning land, and Legion Park.
Discussion revolving around the plans for the garden drew out four neighborhoods that showed concern over local wildlife and impact on property value. So long as Xcel Energy meets the requirements of the residential neighbors and the conditions set forth by the Board of County Commission, it will be able to complete the solar garden.
Construction of the new Minnesota community solar garden will help Xcel reach its renewable energy goals. The utility company is known for its clean energy efforts across Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. It currently deals with solar, hydro, biomass, and wind energy production.
According to the company website, Xcel considers the environmental impact of its renewable energy efforts, works to modernize and retire current plants to reduce CO2 emissions and the continuous advancement of its power grid for a broader scope of renewable energy.