North Mankato has signed on to a solar energy subscription that will save the City 1-cent for every kilowatt hour for the next 25 years.

The plan includes no upfront costs or investment and North Mankato will have the option to terminate the agreement after five years, with a five year replacement period. The savings in the first five years is estimated at 34-thousand dollars. Subscribing to the solar garden for the entire agreement would save the City just over 162-thousand dollars.

Novel Energy Solutions Business Development Executive Rick Masloski says Mankato and Eagle Lake are already on board with the Minnesota Utility Solar Garden Program through Xcel Energy. 

“In your case, you’d be subscribing to 689-thousand kilowatt hours. And I looked at your usage in the past year for Xcel, and it’s about 953-thousand. So it’s about 70-percent, roughly, of your usage would be drived from solar energy.”

With no land available near an Xcel Energy substation, North Mankato will be receiving the energy from a solar garden near Gibbon. Novel Energy looked at putting rooftop solar arrays on the North Mankato City Hall and Recycling Center, but those options were deemed to not be cost effective.

The lone dissenting vote on the solar energy subscription was from Councilman Bob Freyberg who said the idea didn’t make financial or environmental sense.

“I’ve read so much about solar panels, even National Geographic calls this, says it doesn’t meet their greenhouse gas emissions test. Just in the manufacturing of the panels and all of the hazardous chemicals that are used.”

Novel Energy says the solar energy subscription will go live on August 18.