Expanding into Minnesota has been a goal of SunVest Solar LLC for some time. Because the state allows for third-party (i.e. non-utility) ownership of generating assets, such as solar arrays, SunVest can design, build, own, operate and maintain large scale solar arrays which we are known for. The perfect opportunity to see what SunVest could bring to Minnesota’s solar establishment arose with the Schull Project in Mapleton, where we developed a community solar garden. The site provided plenty of level ground with zero obstructions from the sun, both of which are ideal for solar gardens.
Passenger vehicles driven for one year
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Tree seedlings grown for 10 years
Receiving permits for this development went smoothly. The site was already home to a 20-acre community solar garden, which gave SunVest a baseline for which to design our layout. In collaboration with the landowners, we determined that it would be best to expand to the north of the current garden.
Throughout the entire development, we stayed vigilant in maintaining the safety of the surrounding environment. To reduce stormwater pollution, a wet sediment basin and live storage berm were developed. This stores and treats stormwater prior to discharging from an emergency overflow and riprap outlet to the ground surface.
The installed system is made up of 3,600 Trina Solar 400-Watt modules, spanning 7 acres of land. The single-axis trackers from Array Technologies that are used at the site are calibrated to precisely follow the sun’s path at that location to maximize production. The PV panels are wired together with messenger wire, electrically grounding the entire array, and providing support for CAB Solar hangers to which solar conductors can be attached. From the panels, DC power is directed to combiner boxes, and then to 8 SMA Sunny Highpower Peak 125 kW inverters. AC power is routed to a switchboard and disconnect, before being sent to a transformer for distribution to the community.
Within two weeks of finishing construction, SunVest planted a low growth seed mix specifically designed to create habitat for pollinating insects. This mix will help reduce any pre existing soil contamination and help stimulate the local ecosystem through vegetation growth and the attraction of pollinators.