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Lowertown Ballpark might be a solar powered stadium — sort of

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It's buried deep in the documentation on Xcel Energy's Renewable Development Fund Cycle 4 documents, but there on page 24, is the Lowertown Ballpark, waiting in the renewable energy bullpen, so to speak.

The city of St. Paul has proposed putting up a 105kW photovoltaic solar power array in the stadium's parking lot, on the east side of the project, near Highway 52. The city is seeking a $555,000 grant from Xcel's $30 million renewable energy grant fund. Total project cost is estimated at about $741,000.

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The city's environmental policy director, Anne Hunt, says the array, over a carport and an air conditioning unit, would supply about 8 to 10 percent of the stadium's annual electrical needs. The project didn't make the initial cut on the project list submitted by Xcel to the state's public utilities commission, but Hunt says the city is hopeful. "We're confident we'll be coming in off the bench," Hunt says.

That said, its a relatively small project, compared to the efforts that DID get funded, like the $4 million, 1 million watt proposal for the top of the parking ramp at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Another project, about three times the size of the stadium plan, is headed for the Midway Target store, which would be a first photovoltaic project for the company's stores.

Here, according to MPR's Elizabeth Dunbar, are the projects that made the first cut:

  • 1.18 megawatt solar installation at a Terminal One parking ramp at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

  • 907 kilowatt solar park at the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato

  • 485 kilowatt solar installation at Edison High School

  • 350 kilowatt solar project at Target in the Midway area of St. Paul

  • 700 kilowatt solar project at Goodwill Easter Seals corporate headquarters in St. Paul

There is at least one other ballpark that has solar power; Busch stadium in St. Louis has a smaller installation, about a quarter the size of the project proposed for St. Paul's minor league park.