By Lisa Meadows

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A north metro community just completed the largest solar project of any city in Minnesota — and the project didn’t cost taxpayers any money.

Lisa Meadows explains how the project is expected to save tens of thousands of dollars next year alone.

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“I’m a very proud Minnesotan today,” Rep. Dean Phillips said.

Congressman Phillips joined Gov. Tim Walz and Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeffrey Lunde in announcing the completion of a four-year solar panel installation project in the city.

“All told, there are about 6,000 panels, most of which are behind us at this water treatment plant, but they are also spread out at our community activities center, our police station, fire station and three of our public works buildings,” said Daniel Ruiz, Brooklyn Park director of operations and maintenance.

This is the largest solar power project in any city in the state of Minnesota.

“The power output is 1.8 megawatts at any given time, so the total system that we have in place is equivalent to generating the power to 200 households,” Ruiz said. “It will generate enough power between this and the solar gardens we subscribe to for 100% of the city facilities power needs.”

And you won’t hear any complaints from taxpayers about the price tag.

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“I think the best news because it’s the one I get, how much did you spend? We spent nothing,” Lunde said.

The $2.6 million installation was funded by a Minnesota solar grant, federal tax credits and a third-party investor called Standard Solar.

“Projects like this, you don’t have to choose between carbon reduction and cost savings. You can have both,” Walz said.

Another example of how communities in Minnesota are taking advantage of the states growing a clean energy economy.

“We expect to do this more across the state of Minnesota,” Walz said.

And keep the state running toward green energy solutions.

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“This is not a political choice that has to be made, this is just a smart choice,” Walz said.

Lisa Meadows