Solar Potential on Public Buildings in Minneapolis

Date: 15 Jun 2015 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

placeholderHow much solar is installed on municipal buildings? How much could be installed?

As we discovered in writing ILSR’s Public Rooftop Revolution report—the latest in the Rooftop Revolution series—nobody had the answer, for almost every city we contacted.

But in the course of the research, three cities answered our call to analyze their rooftop solar potential specifically for public property. Our first release is for the city of Minneapolis, MN, where analysis by Tom Anderson, a Masters student at the University of Minnesota, suggests the city could put 18 megawatts on public building roofs across town.

All told, we estimated that 5,000 megawatts of solar could be installed relatively quickly on the public buildings of 201 cities (of 100,000 people or more) in the states where cities can contract to buy electricity directly from a non-utility company.

The map is based on a citywide survey of solar suitability on buildings and it includes city-owned and school district-owned buildings. Of the 250 buildings analyzed, 185 were identified that were suitable for solar (136 city-owned, 49 belonging to the school district).  According to the city’s building dataset, “this analysis included roof size, pitch and shading. No analysis was done of the structural capacity or limitations of buildings, which may impact solar suitability in some cases.” Furthermore, no analysis was provided for on-site energy consumption, which can be a limiting factor for solar installations under net metering rules.

Minneapolis Solar Potential Municipal buildings map

This article originally posted at For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Democratic Energy weekly update.

Avatar photo
Follow John Farrell:
John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.