MnDOT is exploring how solar energy development on our right-of-way can help meet MnDOT energy needs, reduce long-term operational costs, and reduce GHG emissions. Executive Order 19-27 (PDF) directs state agencies to reduce GHG emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 and facility energy use 30 percent from 2017 levels by 2027. On-site renewable energy can help achieve these goals and save the agency money on electricity costs.
Learn more in this overview of solar efforts at MnDOT.
ABC Parking Ramps are owned by MnDOT and managed by the City of Minneapolis. MnDOT finalized an agreement with Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF) for a CSG on Ramp A in downtown Minneapolis. This is MnDOT's first solar project in agency right-of-way and first solar garden subscription. The solar garden uses 3,760 panels and is expected to produce 1.4 MWh of electricity each year. The elevated solar panels function like a carport above the parked cars and cover more than half the parking spaces on the top deck of Ramp A. No parking spaces were lost during construction.
MnDOT is leasing the overhead space on the top deck of Ramp A and is a backup subscriber for 20% - 40% of the total subscriptions for 25 years. Bill credits will offset MnDOT Metro District electricity costs for lighting on I-394 in Hennepin County.
The project was completed in October 2019.
Community Solar Garden Subscriptions
MnDOT issued an RFP in spring 2019 to purchase community solar garden subscriptions for its facilities and operations serviced by Xcel Energy. In October 2019, the agency announced two 25-year agreements with both US Solar and Nokomis Partners to purchase a total of 7.4 million kilowatt-hours annually from community solar gardens located throughout Minnesota. This is equivalent to approximately 24 percent of the agency’s total annual electricity use.
The agency subscribed to 14 community solar gardens developed and owned by US Solar and seven community solar gardens owned by Nokomis Partners. The solar gardens will generate clean, renewable energy and provide energy savings to MnDOT in 18 separate counties. Six of the solar gardens are targeted to be online by early 2020.
This is a ground mounted array on non-MnDOT property. MnDOT finalized a 25-year agreement with CEF to be a backup subscriber for 10% - 40% (131 kW – 524 kW) of total subscriptions at this ground mounted site. The bill credits will offset lighting from MnDOT Metro District meters in Dakota County.
There will be some shared learning from the ABC ramps and new lessons learned as a backup subscriber for a lower cost ground mounted array on non-MnDOT owned property. In October 2018, MnDOT and CEF signed subscription agreement. Construction began in spring 2019.