“Correction: The article has been updated to note the Emerge Second Chance Community Solar Garden is 180 kilowatts, not megawatts, and to address errors about Cooperative Energy Futures: The co-op has 900 members, 700 of whom subscribe to community solar, not 700 members. About 85 percent of their solar capacity serves residential customers, but 97 percent of customers are residential, not 85 percent. The Ramp A community solar garden provides power for local residents and the Minnesota Department of Transportation, not the city of Minneapolis. The co-op does require 25-year contracts for community solar subscribers, but allows for members to exit the deal easily.
The newly installed solar panels on the Emerge Second Chance Recycling Facility are ready for the sun. It’s still a rarity in Minnesota’s successful solar garden program, but advocates are trying to ensure that more solar energy finds its way to those who live in polluted areas and struggle to pay their utility bills.
Tucked into the industrial sector of east Minneapolis, Emerge employs formerly incarcerated people to recycle mattresses, which are often discarded into landfills without being stripped of reusable materials.
Now, after five years of planning by the nonprofit Minneapolis Climate Action, its roof hosts a 180-kilowatt* community garden that will power the plant and about 30 Minneapolis homes.
The Second Chance Community Solar Garden is not the norm in Minnesota. While community gardens have fueled rapid growth in the state’s solar production, experts believe the program has failed to account for residents who pay the most for power and live in more polluted neighborhoods. “
read the entire article
Hazzard, Andrew. Energy News Network 5 April 2021.