Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Central > Cultivating Solar Gardens

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Cultivating Solar Gardens


The project will lay the groundwork for making one or more Community Solar Gardens a reality in the Central region. This will be achieved by uniting all of the interested parties (utilities, rate payers, community advocates, and the solar industry) and current resources available, as well as developing new resources and outreach where needed.



  1. Compile and organize existing resources and academic works on developing community solar assets. Determine any gaps and needs.
  2. Engage the utility companies Brainerd Public Utilities and Minnesota Power, bringing them into the planning process.
  3. Engage potential Solar Developers, bringing their perspective into the planning process.
  4. Conduct original research based on the needs identified in phase 1. Develop framework for successful Solar Garden manifestation.
  5. Engage community members, community partners, rate payers.
  6. Hold a community forum to discuss and inform the community on the project.
  7. Final research and framework is complete. Utilities, Solar developers, and all community partners are now working harmoniously towards breaking ground within the next few months.
  8. At least one community solar project goes online in Central MN!


  1. An efficient mechanism for moving forward with Community Solar Gardens is cultivated.
  2. Community pride and environmental accountability is instilled in a broad cross section of the community.
  3. Barriers that prevent utility buy-in for a community solar project are overcome.
  4. A long term clean energy source is developed.



Leveraged resources

Solar Works - $5,000
National Joint Powers Association Grant - $11,120
In-kind - 355 hours
Initiative Foundation - $7,500

Last updated 12-23-2015
  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy