Minnesota Power plans to build the Northland’s first community solar garden next year, allowing customers to buy into the benefits of solar energy without having solar panels on their homes or businesses.

The power company will build a 40-kilowatt solar garden in Duluth at Arrowhead Road and Rice Lake Road will be generating electricity sometime in 2016. They also plan for large 1 megawatt community solar garden somewhere within its service area to be built by a contractor.

Combined, the two solar gardens (about 100 solar panels at the smaller site and 4,000 panels at the larger site) will generate enough electricity to power nearly 200 homes.  Minnesota Power moves to comply with a state mandate to produce 1.5 percent of its retail electricity from solar energy by 2020.

The Duluth garden will be the first chance for Minnesota Power customers to invest in a community solar garden that spreads out the cost of solar energy.Once the garden is set up, it sounds like it'll be a first come first serve basis.

not sure if I want to switch over to solar yet, but it's definitely in an interesting concept. You can check out the full article from the Duluth News Tribune and let me know what you think about it in the comments below.