North Star Solar project

Chisago County proud to be solar capitol of Minnesota

This article is an excerpt of a recent story from the Chisago County Press.

There is a solar boom happening in Minnesota, and with the 100 MW North Star Solar project now complete, it’s booming the most in Chisago County, which estimates that about $350,000 in tax revenue will be created by solar projects in the county. The leasing of the land has also put money in farmers’ pockets where soils were not considered to be premium quality. As Chisago County Environmental Services and Zoning Director Kurt Schneider put it, “We are experiencing the planting of a new crop.”

County officials recently shared Chisago County’s experience with solar at a conference of Minnesota counties. Local officials explained Chisago became such a solar energy generating hub (it was dubbed the capital of MN solar) because of a variety of factors. They cited the large electric substation in Lent Township as a major plus in solar developers list of needs for connecting to the electric grid.

Schneider said the county was positioned to welcome solar before he was hired to direct the county department. There was already a level of comfort with solar due to Chisago Lakes Area School District 2144 installing very visible solar collectors atop the middle school. Lindstrom stepped up and put solar power atop its liquor store and city hall. Chisago County’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility, in North Branch, had a solar power array on its rooftop in 2011.

County Administrator Bruce Messelt said it was an honor to speak at the Association of MN Counties conference in December. “The county really stepped up to the plate,” and laid a foundation for solar regulation at the local level. Watch the presentation by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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