Mortenson Construction said Sept. 20 that it has broken ground on the first of eight solar gardens administered by SunShare that are planned to come on-line in Minnesota by early next year.
The two companies and Real Capital Solutions, the project owner, are partnering to build 11 MW of solar gardens in Minnesota in 2016. More SunShare-administered solar gardens will be constructed by Mortenson in 2017, and the collective portfolio will serve over 6,000 customers across Minnesota.
Mortenson is serving as the full engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor, while SunShare subscribed Xcel Energy customers to participate in the solar gardens and is managing the customer relationship. WakeSun LLC, an affiliate of Real Capital Solutions, is developing and financing the construction of the solar garden.
Mortenson, a family-owned construction and development services company based in Minneapolis, is a leading utility-scale solar and wind energy contractor in the United States. SunShare, based in Denver, is one of the first and largest community solar companies in the nation.
“Consumer demand for solar energy is increasing at a rapid rate. These projects provide residential and commercial entities with the ability to utilize solar power who otherwise may not have been able to,” said Trent Mostaert, Vice President and General Manager of Mortenson Solar & Emerging Renewables.
In 2013, the Minnesota State legislature passed the Solar Energy Jobs Act, allowing Minnesota citizens to access locally-produced solar energy and expanding the use of solar in the state. For the first time, Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy customers have a choice in their energy source, whether they live in homes not suitable for rooftop solar; would prefer to avoid the upfront capital expense of rooftop solar; or live in a condo building with a shared roof. Small businesses can also benefit from community solar even if they do not own the building in which they operate.
“Minnesota is slated to have the largest community solar program in the country,” said David Amster-Olszewski, Founder and CEO of SunShare. “SunShare is thrilled to be working with a Minnesota company to make that vision a reality.”
SunShare, Mortenson, and Real Capital Solutions will be hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 21 at the WakeSun Solar Garden sites in Cold Spring, Minnesota.
Founded in 1984 by Marcel Arsenault, Real Capital Solutions is solutions-oriented real estate company that focuses on Acquisitions, Development and Management for highly complex and structured real estate opportunities. It began investing in solar in 2012 and developed a wind farm in 1995.
Founded in 1954, Mortenson is a U.S.-based, family-owned construction and development services company. Mortenson has operations across North America with offices in cities like Chicago and Denver.