During the past four months, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC has brought online five new community solar gardens in southeastern Minnesota.
The solar gardens, located as far north as Benton County and as far south as Dakota County, are part of a larger Minnesota community solar garden portfolio totaling 66 MW, including projects in development, says NextEra. This statewide effort brings clean energy to Xcel Energy customers, including subscribers who can participate in the community solar projects from within their hosting county or from adjacent counties.
“Community solar gardens represent a creative and efficient model for an electric company to meet its customers’ and its own sustainability goals,” states Matt Handel, vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources. “For NextEra Energy Resources, these projects represent an initial portion of the solar gardens we plan to bring online this year.”
“We recognize that our customers and communities want more renewable energy options,” adds Lee Gabler, senior director of customer solutions at Xcel Energy. “A lot of effort has gone into making Solar*Rewards Community the nation’s largest community solar program, and it’s good to see that these NextEra gardens are now online and delivering clean, renewable energy.”
Community solar gardens offer Xcel customers the opportunity to purchase subscriptions to a solar garden without having to install solar panels on their own property. Subscribers pay NextEra Energy Resources for their fixed share of solar energy production and continue to receive power from Xcel Energy by paying their utility bill as usual. They also may receive credits on their electric bill for solar power produced that may exceed the price paid to NextEra Energy Resources – potentially reducing the subscriber’s overall electricity cost. Current subscribers include Tennant Co., The Home Depot, the University of Minnesota, and other commercial and government entities.