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District Energy St. Paul Partner Subscribes to Solar Garden Projects
Saint Paul, MN (April 22, 2015) – District Cooling St. Paul has finalized commitments to be a subscriber to Minnesota solar gardens, slated for 2016 installation. District Cooling, the partner utility of District Energy St. Paul, has agreed to buy approximately 50% of the electricity the utility uses annually to cool Saint Paul’s central business district from community solar gardens.
District Energy St. Paul is already one of the most renewable thermal utilities in the country, using energy from a biomass-fired, combined heat and power plant, and large-scale solar thermal as part of its flexible fuel approach. District Cooling also uses advanced technology to improve system efficiency, using two large thermal tanks to store cool water generated overnight when the demand on the electrical grid is lower. This approach saves money for customers and increases reliability during extreme summer conditions. The heating utility provides service to over 200 buildings in downtown Saint Paul. The cooling utility provides service to over 100 buildings.
“Our company has a long history of investing in smart, sustainable technologies that can be integrated into our nation leading community energy system,” states Ken Smith, President of District Energy and District Cooling St. Paul. “Subscribing to a solar garden project is an ideal opportunity to advance our environmental mission, while preserving our system reliability and cost-competitiveness.”
The solar agreements have a term of 25 years, which allows District Cooling to lock in the electricity rate over the life of the agreement. This will deliver cost-savings to customers, as well as upholding the utility’s 23 year history of rate stability.
This investment was made possible by 2013 legislation, which launched Minnesota’s community solar garden program. District Cooling will be working with Geronimo Energy and SunEdison, who will plan, develop, and manage these solar gardens, which will have other subscribers. District Cooling’s involvement will help put more renewable energy on the regional electric grid and promote additional subscriptions and solar garden development.
The electric utility will retain the renewable energy credits from this project, so District Cooling will continue seeking other renewable and advanced technology approaches to lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining reliable cooling services to its customers. Smith added, “We are pleased to join our customers Ecolab and the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency, in supporting solar garden development and a more renewable future for Minnesota.”
About District Energy Saint Paul
District Energy St. Paul is a leader in community energy, providing Saint Paul with reliable and sustainable heating and cooling services. As one of Saint Paul’s best kept secrets, District Energy remains committed to excellence in service, energy efficiency, community outreach, and technology innovation to benefit our customers and the environment. For more information, visit districtenergy.com.