New project means more shade for people, more renewable power for a park

It's all about the sun.

Coming soon to a Minneapolis beach: A place to hide from the sun and get some shade, that will also be used to help power the park.

Lake Nokomis Beach will soon have a new solar installation – 18 solar panels placed on top of a new shelter right near the popular Sandcastle restaurant.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board says the solar panels will supply about 10.9 percent of the energy that's used at the beach every year. It's part of a larger sustainability effort the board said started back in 2010.

And the Lake Nokomis park has needed more shady spots, the board said in a master plan, so this new installation moves things along on both fronts.

Here's a slide showing the early concept:

This is the latest solar panel project in Minneapolis parks

A handful of lakes and parks in Minneapolis have gotten small-scale solar projects like these.

Since late 2015, they've put in solar panels at Parade Ice Garden, East Phillips Park, Weber Park, and Martin Luther King Jr. Park. But unlike at Nokomis, those have all been attached to existing structures – on the roof of the park building, or a pool house, for example.

They've been paid for mainly by a grant program that Xcel Energy runs, called the Renewable Development Fund. It has active projects going in the solar, wind, hydro, and biomass technologies, the website says, and to date has committed $118 million to renewable projects.

The solar installations at the Minneapolis parks were paid for mainly with a $969,000 grant through the fund. The Park and Recreation Board also kicked in $150,000.

Renewable power in Minnesota

Minnesota is now home to more than 100 companies involved in wind and solar energy generation, a report earlier this year found. And the state ranks seventh nationally for installed wind power capacity, the report says.

And renewable energy accounts for 21 percent of the total energy generated in Minnesota. That puts the state well ahead of schedule to achieve 25 percent renewable energy by 2025, as set out in the national Clean Power Plan.

There are also proposal in the state House and Senate – that have support from both Democrats and Republicans – that would set more goals for renewable energy usage in Minnesota.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves-Grizzlies game off, KAT tests postive for COVID

The Timberwolves star was among several players that are dealing with COVID-related issues.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.16.44 PM

Heather Brown named as new WCCO 'This Morning' anchor

She will be joining Jason DeRusha on the CBS affiliate's Morning Show.

DPS John Harrington

DPS Commissioner: No credible threats to state Capitol, but ready if something arises

Local and state law enforcement officials have a plan in case a threat arises.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Here are snow totals from Thursday-Friday winter storm

It's a slushy mess in the metro, but snow did pile up in southern counties.

tim walz

Walz fury after report that government's COVID vaccine reserve is nonexistent

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Trump Administration has shipped out all the vaccines it has already, with none in reserve.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on MLK Day 2021?

Local government offices will generally be closed on Monday.

BMTN 900x450 (8)

Company that falsely promised student loan forgiveness banned from MN

It's also been ordered to repay $11,499 in fees taken from Minnesotans.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for January 15

Hospitalizations are the lowest in Minnesota since October 25.


Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.


We get it, you vape – but not at Minneapolis parks anymore

No e-cigarettes on Minneapolis parks property anymore.

Those Red Wing shoes you buy will be 25% solar-powered

Not only is the company boosting its environmental credentials with the move, it believes it'll save money too.

Where a repeal of the EPA's Clean Power Plan would leave Minnesota

Here's where that would leave Minnesota and its renewable energy goals.

Plans for a copper-nickel mine near the BWCA have been blocked

People worried about the environment are happy. The mining company is not.

Watch what it's like to spend a year living in the Boundary Waters

What it was like to spend fall, winter, spring and summer living in the Boundary Waters.