Community solar thrives in the Midwest

We’ve kept you updated on Wright-Hennepin (WH) Solar Community’s progress on our Friday news round-up, but today, take a closer look at this inspiring project.

Some people still wonder if the Midwest, Northwest, and Northeast are viable regions for solar power. If the rise of community-owned shares solar power is any indication, solar power is not only viable in these areas, but it’s also thriving!

In fact, last month, Minnesota celebrated the opening of its first community solar array outside the Twin Cities.

The group has partnered with Colorado’s Clean Energy Collective to help establish, manage, and maintain the power system. Meanwhile, members receive credits on their utility bills and supporting the renewable energy revolution without committing to installing solar arrays on their own property.

Community-owned solar power is gaining momentum in the Midwest after first achieving popularity overseas. And it’s no wonder– community solar projects allow people to pool resources and share the benefits of a solar power system.

According to the solar cooperative’s president and CEO,  Mark Vogt, “The WH Solar Community is a great way for members to own local generation and participate in the excitement of solar in bite size pieces.”

The co-op’s vice president, Rod Nikula, explained some of the appeal of a community-owned model. “We’ve figured out a way to bring solar and storage into the mainstream, and it meets our members’ needs, and it’s affordable for them,” he said. “We don’t need a mandate to tell us what to do. Our members kind of drive our decisions.”

Inside the project:

  • Energia rinnovabile-Pannelli solariAlmost 300 members are currently involved.
  • Installation includes 171 solar panels.
  • Installation began this June and the gran opening was celebrated on September 9, 2013.
  • WH incorporates other projects that benefit their local community. For instance,  several linemen worked with a local naturalists to band baby ospreys.

To learn more about community-owned solar, check out:

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