Recovery dollars will fund solar projects in Minneapolis Saint Paul

Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul will receive federal Recovery funding designed to help increase the use of solar energy. Downtown Saint Paul will become a demonstration for how diversified energy sources can power large-scale buildings, complexes and district systems. District Energy St. Paul will install solar thermal or hybrid solar thermal/photovoltaic systems using the $1 million grant administered through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its own matching funds.

The project with District Energy is one of 40 projects that were selected nationwide to help speed adoption of solar energy while supporting development of a skilled workforce and continuing to pursue new scientific breakthroughs to increase the efficiency and lower the cost of solar technologies.

In addition to the $1million grant, the Department of Energy also awarded an additional $30,000 to NRG Thermal to conduct a feasibility study on integrating solar into its Minneapolis system.

District Energy St. Paul, a 501(c)(3) non-profit utility, heats and cools more than 80 percent of the buildings in downtown Saint Paul as well as 300 single-family homes. NRG Thermal LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. which has global portfolio of projects including wind and solar generation and which provides district and cooling services to over 100 buildings in downtown Minneapolis.

In 2008, Saint Paul and Minneapolis were named Solar America Cities by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a strategic plan to make solar energy more accessible for homes and businesses by the year 2015. The two cities are partnering with local organizations and businesses including District Energy, NRG Thermal LLC, Xcel Energy, Center for Energy and Environment, freEner-g, Fresh Energy, Green Institute, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society and Neighborhood Energy Connection to develop mainstream solar in the coming decade and implement dozens of projects during the next two years. 

Oct. 27, 2009

Published Oct. 26, 2009