Northfield Area Community Solar Invites Conversations During Winter Walk


Northfield Area Ccmmunity Solar will have a table with information about the proposed solar garden at Winter Walk on Thursday evening outside Goodbye Blue Monday Coffee House.  Winter Walkers are invited to stop by and talk about the proposed Northfield solar garden and to grab a brochure. Anyone in the Xcel service area is eligible to subscribe, whether in Rice County or any adjacent county. The NACS goal is to subscribe one megawatt of solar generation locally.

George Kinney, a member of NACS, explains that Xcel Energy, in compliance with state laws and the public good, will be moving a percentage of their energy production to solar power generation by 2020. Several companies are in process of submitting proposals to Xcel to create community solar gardens. These ‘solar gardens’ are arrays of photovoltaic solar panels that generate electricity to flow into Xcel’s energy grid. This means that people can now support renewable energy by buying a solar energy subscription that provides a corresponding pre-pay reduction to their energy bill. This is especially attractive to people who rent in the Xcel service area, and to homeowners who cannot equip their own home with solar panels… perhaps not enough room on the property, or no south-facing roof, or the property is shaded by trees. You can still participate in a renewable energy supply!


Anyone who has an Xcel Energy meter—individual households, businesses, churches, and people living in apartments—can become subscribers to this solar energy garden. The units of energy to which you subscribe are called ‘leaves’ which refers to the portion of each solar panel produces the electricity. One ‘leaf’ produces approximately 205 watts of energy. You can subscribe up to a maximum of 120% of your electric usage.   

Northfield Area Community Solar is working with a local Minnesota startup company called Minnesota Community Solar to provide Xcel customers with this opportunity. (After this project, we hope to expand our relationship to adjacent service providers like Steele Waseca Electric Coop and Dakota Electric Cooperative.) The first community solar garden will be built just outside of Northfield on Highway 19, a location that will tie into a pre-existing energy distribution line. 

Kinney says, "This is exciting news for Northfield Community Fellows and any Xcel Energy customer who is interested in reducing our carbon footprint by moving away from fossil fuels in favor of non-renewable electric generation."

For more information contact NACS at :