By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s an urban garden unlike any Minnesota has seen before, and it will be planted on top of a busy downtown parking ramp.

Instead of dirt, this solar garden will be built over Ramp A near Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. Timothy Denherder-Thomas helped make it official on Monday, announcing plans from his company, Cooperative Energy Futures.

“This is really a way to reduce the energy burden in our community,” said Denherder-Thomas.

They’re teaming up with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the City of Minneapolis to turn the top of Ramp A into a community solar garden.

“It is the way of the future, it’s definitely more of a case model for what we are going to see over the next few decades,” said Denherder-Thomas.

Several local companies will help create panels mounted 18 feet above the ground. People from Hennepin and surrounding counties who are Excel customers can buy into the garden through a subscription and receive monthly energy credits, saving about 7 percent a month.

It’s similar to the project atop Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis.

We talked with one of the subscribers there, Akisha Everett.

“We pay excel anyway, we pay for energy anyway, so why don’t we do it as part of a cooperative effort,” said Everett.

The busy mom of two says she is recruiting others to invest in energy gardens because it plants an important seed.

“It is an investment I think, in our kids’ futures,” said Everett.

Energy from the Ramp A solar garden will feed into the Excel power grid.

To sign up to subscribe, place your name on the waiting here.

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