Xcel Energy opens way for solar gardens

  • Article by: David Shaffer , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2013 - 5:13 AM

Xcel will offer an opportunity to invest in a community solar project, but two energy developers say the utility isn’t paying enough for the power.

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redeye12Sep. 30, 13 5:38 PM

I can understand folks or businesses putting panels on their sites. They can directly utilize the power. The payback is extremely long, but if that's what you want to invest in, have at it. But investing in solar gardens where you cannot actually benefit by using the power they generate is just silly.

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bosshogSep. 30, 13 8:00 PM

Why is it silly? Isn't one of the main points of renewable energy to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear? If that is the case what difference does it make if you have the panels on your house or located somewhere else. The point is is that electricity generated by renewable energy is being used.

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thedanmanSep. 30, 13 8:11 PM

Paid for by the masses to benefit the few. Another 'gift' from the State of Handouts.

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i35splitSep. 30, 13 8:57 PM

I don't have shade ad my roof faces the perfect direction. If somebody would like to pay for panels on my roof, I will give them a monthly electricity credit to them

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joe_mnOct. 1, 13 6:55 AM

u take out a loan to buy panels, your payments and energy savings are MUCH less than costs. so it costs you money to generate electricity. what if YOU have no money to buy them. you cant afford them. how does that economic plan fly?

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zyxwvuOct. 1, 13 7:22 AM

why should the goal be to involve a utility at all? With all the technological gifts and minds in this country, wouldn't it be nice to see dwellings more self sufficient? solar, battery, wind, geothermal technology all developed and scaled for homes and apartments etc. reduce the dependencies on large scale utilities.

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ruphinaOct. 1, 13 8:21 AM

zyxwvu- try getting a permit to put up a turbine in your yard in the cities. The article shows that solar gardens, even with a perfect (for MN) location, need a subsidy to survive, and that is with an "investor" money source (i.e. no interest- the suckers can absorb the losses). Batteries are not a power source, they are just storage, and both the production of and disposal of them is environmentally dirty. Geothermal is not doable for an apartment complex or a large office building 9unless you have hot springs nearby), and quite expensive in cramped urban lots. One man's nice is another man's eyesore. Put solar on your roof and only your neighbors get to see your industrial landscape. Bill G.

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woodyagOct. 1, 13 8:44 AM

been living with solar for 30 years. Sorry; but the design in the photo is- silly. Why? Grass, ragweed, and vandals. Oh, and- you've lost the use of the land. If you put it all UP on a looser overhead grid- you can grow crops, park cars, play games- underneath; and at least stop the casual vandals from having easy access. That thing is supposed to stay there- for at least 30 years. Think just a little harder.

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bosshogOct. 1, 13 9:44 AM

"Paid for by the masses to benefit the few. Another 'gift' from the State of Handouts." --- just like we hand out all of our clean air and water to dirty coal burning power plants. Coal burning power plants directly cause the deaths of hundreds of people a year in the US and tens of thousands of respiratory problems, not to mention the mercury in Minnesota fish from them as well.. all of these costs are not factored into your electric bill... Sounds like a hand out to me.

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ade2309Oct. 1, 1310:17 AM

Investors in solar community gardens do reap a benefit - they are given a direct credit on their electric bills. If it is all priced right, investors should see payback in less than 10 years. So, you pay for 20 years of electricity up front for half the price. That is, if Xcel can be persuaded to price it so this actually works. It could also lead to the creation of a system of micro grids that makes the system more resilient in the event of damage from storms or freak events.

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