Saint Croix Renewable Energy Center

A new solar project in Chisago County, Minnesota
Status: In Development
Megawatts

200

Homes to be Powered

45,000

Approximate Acres

1,000

The Saint Croix Renewable Energy Center is currently in the early stages of development in Chisago County, Minnesota. It would provide electricity to Minnesota and surrounding region. We will be working with the MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator), of which Great River Energy is a member, to connect this solar project to nearby transmission lines.

A powerful option for sustainable communities.

Saint Croix Renewable Energy Center has the opportunity to become an important part of the local community. It is designed to power 45,000 households with clean energy. When it begins construction, targeted for Q2 2025, it will create 400 new jobs and $10,800,000 of estimated new tax revenue over the next 20 years.

We'll work with local landowners and their neighbors to make this project something to be proud of. The solar project will reside on about 1,000 of current farmland out of the 115,500 acres of farmland in Chisago County.
Local Construction Jobs

400

Estimated Tax Contribution

$10,800,000

Targeted Construction Date

Q2 2025

Enjoy the benefits of solar.
Let us do the work.

US Solar will finance, construct, and operate the Renewable Energy Center by working with the local community.

Dual Land Use

This renewable energy project will incorporate bee pollinator habitat, honey production, and may accommodate the grazing of small livestock such as sheep.

Support Local Energy

Local landowners and their neighbors would be harvesting energy for the community and promoting US-made energy production.

Community Investment

This renewable energy project will generate significant tax revenue, create jobs, and encourage local investment.

Good Neighbors

Once in operation, a project makes no noise or vibrations and requires very little maintenance. It’ll quickly become a positive feature of your community.

Plus, we'll be planting 8.7 billion native plant seeds in and around the solar panels.

Not only do local solar projects produce energy to power our homes and businesses, moving to a clean energy future helps in the fight against climate change. This solar project will generate energy equivalent to:

703 million pounds of CO2 emissions avoided per year.
Greenhouse gas emissions from 800 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
Carbon sequestered by 5.2 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

FAQ

Who is US Solar?

Our mission is to make solar energy accessible with simple solutions that are as good for the wallet as they are for the environment. With primary offices in Minnesota and Connecticut, we make it easy for landowners, residents, public entities, and businesses to minimize the hassle and maximize the benefits of solar.
 
US Solar is a developer, owner, operator, and financier of solar generation and storage projects around the country. We take special care in every step of the process to make sure the projects and relationships are developed to the highest standards.

How much tax revenue will the solar project contribute?

The solar project is expected to contribute $600,000 annually in new tax revenue to Chisago County and will help fund schools, public safety services, and other services and infrastructure. Tax contribution is estimated based on the current annual tax contribution outlined by state law and multiplied by the 20 year estimated lifetime of the project.

Will hosting a project on my property increase my own tax bill?

Nope! US Solar will pay for any increase to your property taxes resulting from the installation of the solar project, while also contributing more tax revenue to the local community.

How many jobs will the solar project create?

The solar project is expected to create about 400 local jobs during the construction period. Once operational, the project will have approximately 4 full time personnel to operate and maintain the project.

What will be the environmental impact of the solar project? How much will it reduce emissions?

The solar project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the is equivalent to driving 800 million less miles in the average car. Additionally, the project will have billions of seeds of native prairie habitat planted throughout which will provide habitat for native wildlife, preserve and improve the soils, and reduce erosion and runoff.

How much energy will the solar project generate?

The solar project is 200 MWac, which will produce enough electricity to power approximately 45,000 homes.

How much land will the solar project take up?

The solar project will be sited within about 1,000 acres of privately owned land. Certain characteristics of the parcels occupied will remain unchanged such as streams, forests, and ecologically sensitive areas. There will also be between maintained buffer areas and 10-20 feet of space between rows of solar modules themselves. This will allow the native prairie to flourish and give maintenance personnel (including grazing sheep on some sites!) the room they need to maintain the project.

Is the solar project voluntary for landowners?

Yes, participation is voluntary and US Solar strongly supports landowner rights. Every landowner has their own goals. While we believe that allowing farmland to rest for 20+ years is an excellent way to preserve the land for future generations and diversify income, we respect if you choose not to participate.

Will the project be safe?

Solar is a very safe way to generate clean, renewable energy. No emissions, odor, or toxic or hazardous substances will be released into the environment and no hazardous substances will be used for operation and maintenance of the project. Additionally, all equipment used for the solar project meets or exceeds local, state, and federal regulations and standards. Our sites are also monitored remotedly 24/7 in case a need arises.

Will the solar project be noisy?

The solar project contains several small motors and electrical equipment that are centered within the array that create a small amount of noise, however, there will be no audible noise coming from the project outside of the perimeter fenceline.

Do the solar panels get hot?

Solar panels do not produce much heat but may feel warm to the touch on a hot day.

Do the solar panels produce glare?

Solar panels are designed to absorb sunlight and panels are less reflective than water or window glass. Numerous solar projects have been sited near or even at airports and have been proven to meet FAA regulations.

Is land restored after the solar project is no longer operating?

Each landowner with equipment on their property will have the same decommissioning language included in their underlying lease agreement which requires US Solar to fully restore the property to original conditions. The solar project contains many recyclable materials, including glass, semiconductor material, steel, aluminum, copper, and plastics. When the project reaches the end of its operational life, the component parts will be dismantled and recycled. State or local regulations may also require a bond to be posted to ensure that funds are available to restore the site once the solar project is no longer operational.

Will the solar project negatively impact property value?

Numerous studies have shown that neighboring landowners do not see a negative impact to their property values. Solar is a very passive neighbor.

How tall is the solar project?

The solar panels will sit approximately 6 feet off of the ground and will reach about 10 feet at their highest point in the morning and evening as they rotate to track the sun throughout the day.

Who should I contact if I have more questions about the solar project?

You can reach out to peter.schmitt@us-solar.com via email or call us at 612-299-1434. We look foward to working with you and the rest of the community to build the solar project.

What are you referring to with pollinator habitat, bees, and sheep?

We believe that our solar projects can do more than just produce renewable energy. In our project designs, we always seek to stack other environmental benefits, too. US Solar has committed to planting all of its projects in pollinator friendly habitat, where climate conditions allow. This means more flowers and native grasses to support native bees species, insects, and ground birds. On some sites, we work with local apiary partners to keep commercial bee hives and harvest honey from our sites. In areas where we can find sheep farmers, we have also worked to allow rotationally grazed sheep on our sites alongside our pollinator habitat. If you know local beekeepers or shephards, we would love to work with them!

Isn't this taking farmland out of production?

Farming is hard. Some farmers want to diversify and increase their income, don't have a next generation interested in farming right now, or simply want their land to rest for a few years and rebuild the soil. Some choose to harvest the sun's electrons directly instead of using it to grow corn, soybeans, or anything else. Importantly, nothing can force someone to farm traditional crops on their land if they don't want to, regardless of any historic farming on the land. Solar is also an inherently temporary use and this land can go back to producing traditional crops in the future if the property owner chooses. Overall, the acreage related to this solar project (including buffer areas and unused acreage) represents 0.00392% of the overall farm acreage in the state.
Still have questions? Email our team peter.schmitt@us-solar.com