Applaud Energy Companies for Crowd-Funded Solar Panel Project

Target: Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton

Goal: Applaud the joint efforts of two energy companies responsible for a progressive Minnesota-based solar crowd funding project.

A Minnesota utility called Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association and Clean Energy Collective, a Colorado-based company, are teaming up to provide Minnesota citizens with the state’s first community-owned solar power array. Participants will receive credit for the plant’s emissions-free energy output on their power bills. Applaud these organizations for their commitment to clean, affordable electricity.

The ground-level solar array will be located behind Wright-Hennepin‘s headquarters based in Rockford, Minnesota. The power generated will be sent to the grid but still credited to the owners’ bills. Each of the 171 panels of the new facility have been sold under separate ownership units, bringing in $148,600. Construction is expected to begin in February. Each panel was sold for $869. Rod Nikula, vice president of power supply for the co-op, said that 17 customers signed up, purchasing from one to 27 panels each.

Clean Energy Collective will set up a trust in order to cover maintenance and repairs for the next 50 years. If an investor who purchased panels moves out of the area, another customer may buy them. Wright-Hennepin CEO Mark Vogt said if customers show demand for more community arrays, the co-op is prepared to construct them. At least 40 U.S. projects make use of similar crowd funding arrangements for customer financing. These set ups are often referred to as “solar gardens.”

Matt Christian and his wife Amber, customers of Wright-Hennepin, purchased 15 panels for their Maple Grove townhouse. ”A lot of people are confounded by the idea of installing solar on the home, and this makes it very simple,” he said. Christian considered rooftop panels for his property, but the Maple Grove homeowner’s association did not allow it. He said he expects the panels will take 12-13 years to pay off, but after that the majority of his power will be free. “I look at it as prepaying for electricity.”

The joint action of these two companies will bring clean, renewable energy at affordable prices to many Minnesota customers. The economically viable crowd-funding arrangement spreads awareness of solar as an energy alternative and encourages citizens to participate in keeping their environment safe. Sign this petition to ask Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to applaud Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association and Clean Energy Collective for their cooperation in bringing new green energy to the state of Minnesota.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Dayton,

The Minnesota utility Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association and Colorado-based company Clean Energy Collective have come together to bring Minnesota its first crowd-sourced solar project. The new solar array will consist of 171 solar panels, each acting as separate ownership units. Wright-Hennepin has already sold all of the panels for $869 each, and will begin construction on the array in Rockford, beginning in February. Clean Energy Collective will set up a trust to handle operation and repairs of the facility for the next 50 years.

Customer financing of this array spreads awareness of solar as a viable clean energy alternative and allows customers to have real ownership of their power generation. The work of the organizations involved helps Minnesota’s citizens, economy and environment. I urge you to applaud Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association and Clean Energy Collective for their cooperative action to keep our natural environment clean while providing people with emissions-free energy.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ian Britton via FreeFoto.com

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