Many people in our community face high energy bills, asthma, and unemployment. Solar can cut energy costs and air pollution while creating local jobs, but many people can’t putup solar themselves because:
- They rent their building/ rooftop
- Their building does not have a structurally sound south-facing or flat roof
- Their roof is too shaded by trees or buildings
- They don’t have the financial resources or ability to access private financing to afford it.
Community Solar Gardens (CSG) make solar affordable by building a large solar array on a sunny roof or open area. CSGs can also make solar available to anyone who pays an electric bill by allowing renters, home-owners, businesses, and organizations to subscribe for solar power. Xcel Energy is required to give a bill credit to anyone who subscribes to a CSG for the power produced by their portion of the array.
Now with community solar gardens, solar is possible for anyone who pays an electric bill. As a cooperative, we’re keeping costs low, creating jobs for those who need them most, and ensuring community ownership and control.
Pilot Project: CEF Shiloh Community Solar
Cooperative Energy Futures is developing our first community solar garden on the roof of Shiloh Temple International Ministries in North Minneapolis. The solar garden will provide enough power for about 50 households, and members of the congregation and local residents will have first priority to subscribe. CEF is working in partnership with Renewable Energy Partners to conduct on-the-job training for local North Minneapolis residents through this project to advance racial equity in hiring in the solar industry. CEF is collaborating with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light and organizers connected with Shiloh Temple, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and Sierra Club Northstar to engage local community members and communities of faith in this solar garden.
Have questions about the solar garden on Shiloh Temple? Check out our FAQ page.
Join the Team: Please contact General Manager Timothy DenHerder-Thomas at email@example.com, (612) 250-1621 if you are interested in joining future planning meetings.
Recommend a Host Site: If you know a potential location interested in serving as a host site of a community solar array, you can now collect site information and send a recommendation to CEF. Here’s how:
- You can use our Community Solar Garden host invite to inform potential sites about the project idea
- We will have case studies of similar projects around the country available soon
- You can fill out either a Word doc version of the Host Site interest survey and send it to us or use this Online Survey Monkey survey to tell us about the site.
Join a Project: Specific sites and direct opportunities to subscribe are not yet available, but we are building a list of people interested in learning more and joining in community solar arrays. If you are interested in this model and might want to join in as a community solar subscriber, please sign up below!
In 2012, CEF began discussions with local commercial and non-profit energy users about hosting a community-owned solar array that would open up access to clean energy ownership. In 2013, we built experience with the process of working with major host sites and investors, and secured a 13kW commercial solar array that is financed independently so that the site hosting the panels does not have to pay for the system up front. This project is being installed in late 2014. These projects are a pilot for launching true community solar in 2015.