Solar Thermal in St. Paul

Written by Sierra Club intern Jennifer Wang


Photo by District Energy

Did you know that the largest solar thermal project in the Upper Midwest is right here in St. Paul? It’s also the first in the United States that is integrated with the district energy system. District Energy in St. Paul, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Solar America Communities” program, now generates a peak energy production of a megawatt for heating water from their solar thermal installation. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 900,000 pounds annually! The solar thermal collectors cover about half a football field of space on the roof of the building, 144 of them in total.

District Energy is the largest hot water heating system in North America and provides heat to 80% of downtown St. Paul. The energy generated from the installation will serve the St. Paul RiverCentre (the home of the new project) and some of the downtown St. Paul customers. The project is aimed at increasing energy efficiency and protecting the environment by reducing emissions.

The City of St. Paul is really becoming a leader in renewable energy, and is installing nine new solar projects this year. The “Solar America Communities” program is partnering with local governments all over the country to increase the use of solar energy in our communities.

On Saturday, July 30th from 1 – 5, we will be highlighting wind, solar, and other energy efficient projects throughout the twin cities that are leading Minnesota to a clean energy economy. The bus is currently full, but click here to sign up for the waiting list. Hope to see you there!


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