ST. CLOUD -- A local health care organization is trying to do its part to take care of the environment.

CentraCare has been subscribing in solar energy for about three years, through two offsite solar gardens in Villard and Glenwood, with more subscriptions on the way.

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Dustin Maddy is a Sustainability Program Analyst for CentraCare. He says while they are still new to the solar program, they have been pleased with the results.

Things have gone well. This was a new program when it started, we took some risk and it has turned out well. We're actually seeing the savings we anticipated when we first talked about this.

Maddy says they currently subscribe to about 15 megawatts of solar, which is more energy than St. Cloud Hospital consumes during the summer month.

Joe Stofega is with Nokomis Energy, CentraCare's solar development partner. He says the community solar is a win-win for larger companies who want to participated in clean energy.

The community solar program itself is great for companies, hospitals, or schools to participate in solar without having to install the panels on site, while getting the savings through energy bill credits.

Maddy says their biggest solar subscribers are at their Monticello and Paynesville locations, St. Cloud Hospital and the St. Benedict's Senior Community.

CentraCare's subscription is expected to save more than $1.6-million in energy costs over 25 years.


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