Community Solar Garden ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
Geronimo Energy is teaming up with St. Paul Public Housing to bring solar to their residents under Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Garden Program. Residents of multi-unit housing have not traditionally been able to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. However, with the introduction of the Community Solar Garden Program, the barriers to solar power have been removed for SPPHA residents.
Geronimo Energy’s project was selected from a group of competitive proposals received by SPPHA. The project will help offset roughly 90% of SPPHA’s electricity usage at16 high-rise buildings, comprised of 2554 housing units, as well as the main office facility in Saint Paul. Over the life of the contract with Geronimo, SPPHA will support the generation of 864,354,001 kWh of solar electricity and save over $4,000,000 in electricity expenses, while annually offsetting over 25,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
“We are excited to help SPPHA harness the benefits of solar energy through Xcel Energy’s game changing community solar garden program,” said Geronimo Energy Director of Solar, Nathan Franzen.
Under the Community Solar Garden program, Xcel customers can purchase a subscription to a Community Solar Garden in exchange for a credit on their monthly Xcel bill. The program was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in early 2014 and is designed to improve access to solar for businesses and homeowners.
The Community Solar Garden program utilizes economies of scale to reduce overall construction costs which are then passed on to subscribers through savings on their electricity bills.