Lost amid the discussion about commercial zoning and city lawsuits recently has been the possibility of a solar energy “garden” located within St. Michael city limits.
Earlier this month, the St. Michael Planning Commission and St. Michael City Council each heard reports from city staff about the possibility of a so-called “solar garden” within St. Michael, and agreed the city could explore such a location within the community.
Now, a company called “SunShare” is teaming up with Xcel Energy with hopes to provide that renewable energy source here, and they’re kicking off the project with a neighborhood meeting next week at the St. Michael City Center.
The event is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 7 in the city council chambers.
SunShare’s current plans show for the solar energy project to be situated on property northeast of the intersection of 15th Street Northeast and Kadler Avenue Northeast, near Lake Charlotte, on the south side of the city. It would be adjacent to the former St. Michael landfill site, which is now capped.
All community members and business and organization owners are welcome to the forum, said Sun Share business and communications director Karen Gados. The group will gauge community participation, offering more information to residents and owners who wish to participate in the energy program, which will be facilitated by Xcel.
SunShare has yet to approach the city with an official request for review regarding the development, which would start the city process of approval.
Xcel is required, by state law passed more than five years ago, to derive a certain percentage of power on its grid from renewable energy sources. It has upped the ante by saying it would double its renewable resources by 2030 – or over the next 15 years.
IF YOU GO
What: Solar Garden information session/neighborhood meeting
Where: St. Michael City Center – council chambers
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, May 7
Who: All St. Michael area community members, businesses and organization leaders
Why: SunShare and Xcel are teaming up to create a proposed solar garden near the intersection of Kadler Avenue Northeast and 15th Street Northeast in south St. Michael.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect this is a proposal from SunShare, and no official city action has been taken on the company’s proposal.