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A new community solar garden in Minnesota: solar credits to disadvantaged homes, support for a green energy source, and financial benefit for the company.

A new 1.2-megawatt solar field will be built this year in Minnesota at the intersection of Blue Earth County Road 69 and Highway 169/60.

The location lies southwest of the city of Makato, while subscriptions are available to people living in apartments, mobile homes, and individuals with low credit scores. 

So how does that work?

The Environmental Leader reports that the community solar garden subscribers pay a monthly fee to the developer. In return, they own a share of the solar array equivalent to up to 120% of their historical electricity consumption. 

As the subscriber’s share of the array produces electricity, the power is fed into Xcel Energy’s electrical grid. Xcel then credits the subscriber for the energy production, offsetting a portion of the subscriber’s regular Xcel electricity bill. During the long days of summer when solar arrays are most productive, they often generate more electricity than the subscriber is consuming in their home.

In that case, the subscriber’s entire monthly Xcel bill is erased, and solar credits are banked to offset part of the monthly bills in winter months when solar panels produce less electricity. 

These solar subscriptions became increasingly popular, especially since Xcel pays out more in credits over the course of a year than it does in subscription fees to the developer of the community. 

Nikola, an electrical engineer, simplifies intricate sustainability subjects for his audience. A staunch environmental conservationist, he embodies his beliefs daily through recycling and cultivating his own food.

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