Bill Grant, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, participated in the grand opening ceremonies of the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association solar community.
Nearly 300 people were part of history on Sept. 10 when the state’s first solar community was launched at the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association in Rockford, Minn. Member owners, utility reps, renewable energy advocates, policymakers and more celebrated the grand opening.
The 32.49 kW, 117-panel solar array is located on the grounds of the Wright-Hennepin Co-op and gives Wright-Hennepin members a chance to own solar panels without installing equipment on their property and without worrying about maintaining the system. The array is owned by 17 co-op members who purchased from 1 to 27 panels. It generates enough electricity to power about four homes. Wright-Hennepin Co-op is planning a second solar array based on ongoing demand from its members.
“The concept of solar communities, which Wright-Hennepin is really pioneering here in Minnesota, is something that a growing number of individuals want,” said Bill Grant, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, who spoke at the solar community grand opening. “You have a traditional utility in the business of providing traditional energy sources conflicted by their own members who want to move forward with their own energy production. Those two ideas can be in conflict with each other, but what Wright-Hennepin is showing is that those two ideas can work together in a productive way.”