The University of Minnesota Duluth has announced it will purchase power in the form of a 100-kilowatt block from the new Minnesota Power solar garden.
The solar garden, located in Wrenshall, is divided into blocks that customers subscribe to in order to meet part or all of their energy needs. According to brainerddispatch.com, UMD’s 100 Kilowatt, $213,215 purchase is 10% of the Minnesota Power community solar garden. The power will be used across several areas of campus: 40% Dining Services, 40% Housing and Residence Life, and 20% Transportation and Parking Services.
The site reports that the move to purchase solar power comes after UMD pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020, with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The effort is part of the Second Nature Carbon Commitment, along with over 700 other higher education institutions.
Granley reports that UMD’s greenhouse gas emissions have remained nearly constant since 2007, despite three new buildings and renovations that expanded chilled-water use. “This is laudable; however, UMD is behind our 25% reduction goal,” she says. She believes that the solar power purchase, with replacement Renewable Energy Credits purchased, will boost UMD’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts. “Community solar allows UMD the benefits of a large-solar array without the construction and land use.”