SolarCity to Make First Community Solar Investment in Minnesota

SolarCity Corporation, the nation's largest installer of residential solar ­panels, says it will invest $200 million in Minnesota to build its first community solar gardens, and hopes to sell much of their electric output to apartment dwellers who have been left out of the rooftop solar market.

The company, based in San Mateo, Calif., said it signed a deal with Sunrise Energy Ventures of Minnetonka to construct 100 Minnesota solar gardens that offer subscribers clean energy at favorable prices. SolarCity would build, own and operate the solar gardens, which would be built on land on the fringe of the Twin Cities.

It is the first shared-solar offering — and a fresh direction — for a company that invented the concept of financing, installing and maintaining solar panels on residential and business properties. In 2014, according to GTM Research, SolarCity installed more than one-third of U.S. residential solar panels, although Minnesota isn’t one of 18 states where the ­company has operated.

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