Minnesota's first community solar installation is celebrating its grand opening today.
The Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association built the project at its headquarters in Rockford, Minn. Members have bought individual solar panels and will receive credit on their utility bills for the electricity the panels produce.
The project was planned before Minnesota's new solar law took effect this year.
Rod Nikula, the co-op's vice president of power supply, said members have shown a strong interest in solar energy.
"We've figured out a way to bring solar and storage into the mainstream, and it meets our members' needs, and it's affordable for them," he said. "We don't need a mandate to tell us what to do. Our members kind of drive our decisions."
The first installation is expected to produce enough electricity to power four homes, and Nikula said future projects would be similar.
Co-ops and smaller utilities are exempt from the new law, which requires Minnesota's larger utilities to produce 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar by the end of 2020.
Community solar projects are one way the utilities are expected to meet that standard.