Seven sites selected to showcase sustainable solar power

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December 17, 2013
By: Ben Johnson
The possible location of the Lake Nokomis beach solar installation
Screenshot taken from the Nov. 20 Park Board meeting
Ben Johnson

After receiving nearly one million dollars from an Xcel Energy grant, the Park Board has chosen seven sites scattered across Minneapolis to demonstrate examples of solar energy.

A 150 kilowatt (kW) installation will be placed on the roof of Parade Ice Garden and 10 kW demonstrative projects will be installed at Jim Lupient Water Park, Webber Park, East Phillips Park, Lake Calhoun refectory area (Tin Fish), Lake Nokomis main beach, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Craig Wilson with Sustology consulted on the project to help locate places in each of the six Park Board districts that were well-suited for solar panels. A variety of canopy, roof, awning, ground and pole mount installations were recommended, depending on the location. Wilson presented his recommendations at the Nov. 20 Park Board meeting, but the exact locations and types of installations haven’t been completely finalized yet.

Assistant Superintendent Bruce Chamberlin said the Park Board is exploring partnering with Minneapolis arts organizations to create art installations that would be integrated with the solar panel displays.

The Park Board supplemented Xcel Energy’s grant with $100,000 of its own, and combined the projects are expected save $28,000 per year on electricity bills. All of the projects are expected to be operational by 2015.