ST. JOSEPH - According to IPS Solar, their new solar community garden in St. Joseph will save its subscribers over $8,000,000 over the next 25 years.

The new 60-acre facility will produce enough energy to power around 1,000 homes. However the energy will not be used for homes, local schools will see the main benefit.

Eric Pasi is the Vice President of Business Development for IPS. He says while the project will provide energy for a long time, it took a relatively short time to build.

"Solar really allows us to take a distributed approach to energy. We can place solar projects in areas with a need and build them in a short time frame. We started building this project in June and they actually went online in early September."


The new facility has a 25-year lease with the land-owners and Xcel Energy to provide "clean, cost-effective energy".

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon people were given a tour of the facility tucked right off I-94. Pasi says the thousands of panels will help provide energy when Minnesotan's need it most.

"Solar's place within the energy mix is that it provides energy when the demand is the highest. If you think about the summer when the air conditioning load is at it's peak, that is when solar is performing and preforming very well."


The subscribers include St. Cloud, Annandale and Paynesville School District's and Louis Industries. The districts will benefit from the non-tax-payer funded community solar garden.

At the moment Solar energy only accounts for 1% of the states total energy.