Bethany Lutheran College is looking to the sun for a portion of its future electricity needs. The College has elected to partner with the Community Solar Garden (CSG) program and will be receiving some of its power from local solar farms. A CSG is a large array of solar panels that a customer can subscribe to rather than installing solar panels on location. A subscriber does not own or maintain the solar panels and does not receive the actual electrons they produce. Rather, those electrons are mixed into the existing power grid and the subscriber continues to receive electricity in the same way as always.
In Bethany’s particular situation, the electricity generated by the CSG program is mixed into the current Xcel Energy Corporation’s grid with Bethany paying a subscription fee; which is in turn credited for the subscribed solar production as a line item on the monthly energy bill. A subscriber to the program must be located in the same or contiguous county to the CSG. Bethany is receiving solar power from two close by farms just southwest of Mankato and west of Waseca, Minnesota, through direct agreements between a solar developer and the utility company.
The Community Solar Garden program was created by the Minnesota Legislature to allow homeowners, small businesses, nonprofits, and local governments to tap into the growing solar power offerings in the state. The City of Mankato and Blue Earth County are already participating in the CSG program. By participating in the CSG program, Bethany will help to offset demand from power plants, utilize a clean, renewable resource, and will see a significant reduction in future electrical bills.
Daniel Mundahl, Vice President of Finance and Administration at Bethany Lutheran College, noted, “The opportunity was right for Bethany to participate in this endeavor, to help save money and use a renewable resource.”