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Dec 30, 2013

82kW Solar Array Unveiled on Saint Paul RiverCentre Parking Ramp

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman joined Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Assistant Secretary Henry Kelly with the US Department of Energy, Deputy Commissioner with Minnesota Department of Commerce Bill Grant, Councilmember Dave Thune and Xcel Energy Regional Vice President Laura McCarten today in a celebration event to officially unveil an 82 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic installation project on the Saint Paul RiverCentre parking ramp, thanks to Federal Stimulus grant dollars from the US Department of Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

“With partners like Saint Paul RiverCentre, Xcel Energy and our leaders in Washington, Saint Paul continues to be a leader in renewable energy and sustainability. Integrating these cutting edge technologies creates jobs, improves building efficiency and demonstrates that clean energy is a way of life in Saint Paul,” said Mayor Chris Coleman.

“Clean energy technology is already one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy, and thanks to this Recovery Act Grant, Saint Paul is rapidly becoming a leader this field. Solar energy technologies such as these will create jobs while providing healthier air quality. As Saint Paul expands its clean energy economy, I will continue the fight in Congress to protect the federal government’s investment in these initiatives,” said Congresswoman Betty McCollum.

“Recovery Act projects in communities across the nation are creating jobs, developing industries and saving Americans money through innovative investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy,” said US Department of Energy Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Henry Kelly. “Cities and communities like Saint Paul are leading the way by utilizing these programs to save money, cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

With the help of both federal and state grants, the Saint Paul RiverCentre parking ramp was able to have 348 American-made solar photovoltaic panels installed that will generate 100,00kW of energy annually – which represents enough energy to power nine homes for a year. This solar project is one of seven in Saint Paul, which are utilizing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant dollars.

“This is what collaboration looks like at its best,” said Deputy Commissioner Bill Grant, who directs the Division of Energy Resources (DER) at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “State, local, and federal partners worked closely with private businesses, utilities, and others to make this project possible. This is exactly the kind of cooperative approach we need to achieve Minnesota’s aggressive, achievable renewable energy goals.”

Other notable Federal Stimulus projects include installation of two electric vehicle charging stations, as well as the Midwest’s largest solar thermal installation on the roof of Saint Paul RiverCentre, which was completed earlier this year by District Energy St. Paul. The Saint Paul RiverCentre parking ramp has also converted 1,087 high pressure sodium lights in its parking ramp to new energy-efficient fluorescent lamps – an annual savings of $50,000. This project was funded with Federal Stimulus money and an Xcel Energy rebate.

“Xcel Energy is proud to partner with the City of Saint Paul and Saint Paul RiverCentre to advance these energy efficiency and renewable technologies as part of the Energy Innovation Corridor,” said Laura McCarten, regional vice president, Northern States Power-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. “This project shows how Xcel Energy's energy efficiency programs make it possible for our customers to reduce their energy use and their lower monthly utility bill, as well as how to add renewable energy to further boost those great outcomes." 

Thanks to the addition of these solar panels, electric car charging stations and the complete lighting retrofit project, the Saint Paul RiverCentre parking ramp is a tremendous extension of the adjacent facilities’ sustainability efforts. Saint Paul RiverCentre’s energy-focused sustainability initiative is dubbed ‘80-20 in 3,’ which began more than two years ago. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint at Saint Paul RiverCentre, the accompanying Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium and Xcel Energy Center by 80 percent and make these facilities 20 percent more efficient than average within three years time. The timeline for reaching the ’80-20 in 3’ goal is 2012.

"We are immensely proud of the progress of our ’80-20 in 3’ initiative," said Saint Paul RiverCentre General Manager and Minnesota Wild Vice President Jim Ibister. "As an organization, we will continue to search for new and exciting renewable energy alternatives in an effort to reduce our environmental impact.”

The City of Saint Paul and Xcel Energy are partners of the Energy Innovation Corridor and Drive Electric Minnesota. Saint Paul RiverCentre is located in the Energy Innovation Corridor, which is an area along the planned Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line, and is a showcase of energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation and smart technology. Drive Electric Minnesota is a partnership of local and state government, utility providers, private business and nonprofit entities working in collaboration to bring electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in charging infrastructure to Minnesota.

Saint Paul RiverCentre acknowledges the project partners – Center for Energy & Environment, City of Saint Paul, Electricharge Mobility, Hunt Electric, Midwest Energy Solutions, Minnesota Department of Commerce, US Department of Energy, Weber Electric, Westwood Professional Services and Xcel Energy.

Footage of the solar panel installation project and today’s press conference can be downloaded by clicking here:
- Login: ControlPublic
- Password: GoW1ld
- Folder: Solar Thermal Panels