Just Solar Coalition: Community Solar Gardens

Minnesota has been a pioneer in Community Solar Gardens since the Legislature passed the state’s first CSG legislation in 2013. Community Solar Gardens allow homeowners, renters, and organizations in many parts of the state to support clean energy and climate justice and save money on electricity without installing solar panels themselves.

MNIPL is a founding member of the Just Solar Coalition, whose community solar gardens promote cooperative ownership, transparent business practices, fair contracts, and equitable employment.

To learn more or subscribe to a local Just Solar Coalition community garden, fill out the form to the right. 

The Just Solar Coalition includes MNIPL, Community Power, Cooperative Energy Futures, the Sierra Club, and Renewable NRG Partners. As part of its growing solar programs, MNIPL works to educate faith communities, civic groups and their individual members about eligibility and the benefits of subscribing.

Eligible Counties

To subscribe to one of the Just Solar Coalition community solar arrays, you must be a customer of Xcel Energy in one of the following Minnesota counties:

Blue Earth, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Mower, Rice, Scott, Steele, or Waseca.

About Community Solar

Community solar gardens are arrays of solar panels built in a central location. Members of the community near and around the CSG have the opportunity to buy their electricity from these arrays by purchasing a share of the community solar garden, similar to purchasing a CSA share from a farmers.

Benefits of Community Solar include: 

Easy Access to Solar Power at a Lower Cost. Community solar gardens allow people to do two things. Take advantage of solar energy for as little as a third of the cost of a regular electricity bill, and avoid the hassle of installing solar panels on one's home or business. CSGs also allow for renters and owners with poor southern sun exposure to access solar energy.

Reduce CO2 pollution and the impacts of climate change. According to the Energy Information Administration, Minnesota households used on average 817 kWh of electricity per month in 2013, which translates to as much as 1,700 lbs of CO2 released into the atmosphere. This number is reduced somewhat by Minnesota’s increased use of wind power, which currently comprises 16% of all generated electricity in the state.  The explosive growth of the solar industry, primarily through CSGs, can help to reduce these CO2 emissions even further. When we consider the full cost of coal, which includes what we pay as a society in harmful side effects to our health, solar costs half as much as coal per kWh to develop and operate.