Solar power has emerged as a great alternative energy source for homeowners and businesses alike. In response to growing interest from our citizens, the City is taking steps towards making St. Anthony a solar-friendly community.
Solar power is generated with the use of photovoltaic panels. "Photovoltaic" means that sunlight is converted into electricity. These panels are arranged into one larger display in a location where space and sunlight are most abundant, typically rooftop-mounted or on the ground.
St. Anthony's Solar Initiatives
In 2015, St. Anthony adopted a Solar Ordinance to provide guidelines for the planning and installation of photovoltaic solar systems. This solar ordinance minimizes confusion or potential problems to better facilitate and manage solar projects in the City.
In fact, you may already have a neighbor with solar panels! The Sustainability Tour Map "Residential Solar Sites" section displays approximate locations of existing solar arrays in the city.
Interested in installing a solar system of your own? To find out what is required, review St. Anthony's Solar PV Permit Checklist and Process, which outlines materials you must provide in the application. In addition, the building permit and electrical permit should both be completed. This solar checklist must be submitted as part of the application package.
Community Solar Gardens
As a member of the "Community Solar Subscriber Collaborative" coordinated by the Metropolitan Council, St. Anthony approved agreements with two community solar garden developers in 2016. The subscriptions amount to approximately 25% of the annual electricity use from city government facilities, with a total subscription size of 647,940 kilowatt-hours (kWh). The city facilities included in these agreements are City Hall, Fire Department, Central Park, Trillium Park, and Silver Point Park and Shelter.
A community solar garden is a great option for residents who still want to benefit from solar energy, but are unable to do so on their own for various reasons, including financial burden, lack of direct sunlight, or lack of space (e.g. apartment renters, condo owners who cannot modify their building's rooftop, etc).
A developer organizes, builds, and manages the solar garden and generates interest from potential subscribers. In Xcel Energy's territory, individual entities can subscribe to community solar gardens for up to 120% of their annual electricity usage. When subscribers receive their utility bills, they receive a bill credit resulting from the electricity generated by their share of the solar garden. Don't forget to check with your electricity provider - they may have utility-specific options and programs for community solar! View additional resources regarding Community Solar Gardens.
As an additional sustainability initiative, the City is in the process of pursuing SolSmart designation to demonstrate commitment to solar development in our community. SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes cities, counties and towns that are addressing barriers to solar energy and working to strengthen their local solar markets.
There are three achievable designation levels: SolSmart Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Municipalities receive no-cost technical assistance to advance their solar efforts and work towards the program's best practices. This support helps establish the framework for greater ease and affordability for residents or businesses to install and access solar energy.
The SolSmart Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, began in 2016 and more than 200 municipalities nationwide have already achieved designation. Visit the SolSmart website for more information.