The Duluth City Council plans to install the largest Solar Energy array the city has ever seen. If the bill resolution passes, it will open the way for Duluth to lease out 9.5 acres of land off Riley Road to Rendfield Land Co., a subsidiary of Allete Inc.Allete Inc is the parent company of Minnesota Power which proposes to invest about $3.9 million to install a 1.6-megawatt array across the road from Lake Park Athletic Complex. The output from the solar panels is expected to be sufficient to power about 300 homes.
Minnesota Power originally had proposed an even larger solar installation based on the size of the property. The footprint was tightly constrained to avoid impacting wetlands in the area.Mindy Granley, sustainability officer for the city of Duluth said that the city is working with Minnesota Power to identify other sites that could accommodate larger arrays. Amy Rutledge, corporate communications manager for Allete/Minnesota Power said that MP has a history of working closely with the city of Duluth to advance its energy vision.
Amy Rutledge said that this project illustrates how we work with our communities to transition to a carbon-free future. We collaborated with the city of Duluth on selecting a site that considered the best utilization of the land. Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said the city is committed to bringing more large-scale and small-scale power by Solar Energy to the city.
Mayor also said that there are large blocks of city land, old industrial sites, brownfields and other locations. We need to do what we can, where we can, to find sites suitable for expanding Duluth’s Solar Energy production. Assuming the lease and a special-use permit are approved, work on the Riley Road solar project could begin soon, with the array completed and ready for service by 2022. The 35-year lease calls for an annual payment of $4,760.