A major contributor to climate change is greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of electricity. While the electric grid in Minnesota continues to get cleaner, it remains important for local governments to understand energy consumption in their communities.
The City is working to reduce energy consumption and costs and increase renewable energy in its buildings, campuses, and operations. Recent actions include:
- benchmarking energy use and completing energy efficiency projects in City buildings
- replacing indoor and outdoor lighting with LEDs
- installing an EV charging station at City Hall, with one planned at Brookview in 2021
- installing four 40-kilowatt solar arrays on City buildings through a Power Purchase Agreement (each array produces an average of 38,890 kWh annually for a total of approximately 55,560 kWh coming from City solar, which is equal to about 10 percent of the energy consumed by the City each year)
- achieving bronze certification in the Department of Energy's Solsmart program
- developing a Green Building Guide for residential construction and remodeling projects
Carrying out the Energy Action Plan is a community effort. There are a number of ways that residents, organizations, and businesses can get involved to help achieve Golden Valley's energy goals.
Learn How to Help Lower Energy Bills with an Energy Audit
Save money and energy with a visit from the Home Energy Squad®. Energy experts will conduct a home energy audit, and provide you with free materials to increase your home's energy efficiency.
The City of Golden Valley Is Paying Half the Cost for a Home Energy Squad Visit for Residents. Free Visits Are Available to Income-Qualified Households. Schedule a visit online or Call 651-328-6220.
Get Help with Your Energy Bills
The Energy Assistance Program helps income-eligible households with bill payment assistance and energy crisis intervention. Call the Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County at 952-930-3541 or visit the Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County website to learn more.
Keep upfront costs low with rebates
Find energy-saving tips, home rebates, and programs from Xcel Energy to increase your home's efficiency through Xcel Energy online.
Switch to an Electric Vehicle
In October 2018, one of Golden Valley's first electric vehicle (EV) charging stations was installed in the water tower west parking lot, near McDonald's, on the City Hall campus, and in 2021, a charging station was installed at Brookview. The charging station by ChargePoint is a part of the world's largest and most open EV charging network, with more than 50,000 charging stations worldwide and more than 300 in the Minneapolis area.
Charging at a ChargePoint station is similar to pumping at a gas station, except the payment is done through a mobile app or the ChargePoint card for a simpler and quicker transaction. Users are charged 90 cents per hour for the first three hours $1.20 per hour after three hours.
For more information about the ChargePoint EV charger, contact the City of Golden Valley Physical Development Department at 763-595-8030 or visit the ChargePoint website.
Energy Efficient Buildings
The City of Golden Valley has developed a Green Building Guide in hopes of encouraging residents to choose 'greener' options when performing home improvement projects. Green building is a process that reduces and/or eliminates negative environmental impacts over the course of a building's life-cycle.
From design and construction to maintenance and renovation, this Golden Valley-specific guide will be designed for residents and local builders. It will include a comprehensive list of guidelines and resources intended for new building projects as well as smaller retrofit or renovation projects.
Paper copies can be made available by calling the Golden Valley Engineering division at 763-593-8030.
Solar power is considered one of the cleanest forms of energy production, with no associated fuel costs, air emissions, or waste, and it takes very little water to manufacture. The City of Golden Valley has begun powering some of its buildings with solar and is taking steps to make it more accessible. Solar arrays on the roofs of several City buildings help increase savings and power operations through renewable energy.
The City entered this venture at no cost through a power-purchase agreement, where third-party investors own the arrays, Sundial Solar maintains them, and the City provides the rooftop space. Golden Valley gets credit on its energy bills when the arrays on the buildings produce more energy than the buildings need. In 2016 the solar arrays produced 86,300 kWh of electricity, enough to power nine average homes in one year, according to the EPA. This saved the City approximately $3,500 in electric costs and diverted 60.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere.
Increasing solar energy production helps meet the State's goal of deriving 25% of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2025 and increases Golden Valley's resilience to energy supply and price shocks by developing an energy source that is generated and used locally.
Solar contractors will be able to provide a cost estimate for your project. Make it affordable by using the following resources:
- Federal Tax Credit: If you installed a solar system in 2020-2022, you get a 26 percent Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. The incentive allows you to claim a 26 percent credit on your federal tax return for the costs of the system. Projects must be installed by Dec. 31, 2022.
- Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards®: Solar*Rewards is an incentivized program from Xcel Energy where annual payments are made to the owner of the solar system in exchange for Renewable Energy Credits for the energy produced by the solar system.
- Solar Financing: Up to $50,000 is available to help you pay for your solar system and there are no income limits.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIREUSA): This database provides a complete list of financial incentives for solar systems from utility, state, county, and federal sources. Select your contractor and install your system.
Read the PIE Solar Checklist for more tips. Apply for a Solar PV Permit Checklist on our ePermits system.
In early 2020, the City joined Xcel Energy's Partners in Energy (PIE) program to move forward in achieving its energy goals and assisting residents and local businesses in reducing energy bills and carbon footprints.
PIE provides services to communities to develop an energy plan and assist with implementing that plan. Each community has its own unique energy needs and priorities, and Partners in Energy tailors its services to complement each community's vision.
Golden Valley's participation lasts two years and consists of two phases. The first phase was dedicated to developing a strategic energy action plan. The remaining portion of the two years will be focused on implementing the plan. Throughout the process, the City has been working with a dedicated Partners in Energy team that provides guidance, education, and resources for City staff, businesses, and residents as they work to achieve energy goals.
Energy Action Plan Update
The City’s Energy Action Team recently published a first six months (July–Dec 2021) progress update of the plan to share how Golden Valley has made strides in becoming a more environmentally friendly place. View document here.
The Partners in Energy Process
Partners in Energy and the City of Golden Valley recruited 12 local leaders, business representatives, and residents to serve on the Energy Action Team. The team also included City staff and a Minnesota GreenCorps member. Partners in Energy facilitated five workshops engaging the stakeholders from the Energy Action Team to develop a strategic energy action plan.
The plan was reviewed and recommended by the Environmental Commission and approved by Golden Valley City Council in May 2021, officially starting the implementation of the plan over an 18-month period.
Energy Action Plan Focus Areas:
- Reducing High and Severe Energy Cost Burden
- Improving Energy Efficiency
- Supporting Clean Energy