The Recovery Act continues to attempt to blanket the country in solar panels, combined with matching funds from District Energy St. Paul, the St. Paul RiverCentre just got the biggest solar thermal project in the upper midwest put on their roof.
Together Minneapolis & St. Paul have launched their Solar in the Cities initiative, aimed at expanding solar use, and decreasing costs for things like installation.
This specific part of the initiative will not only help power the RiverCentre, but excess energy will be used to power a heated water loop, that will provide hot water to other parts of the city like businesses, and even some homes. This rooftop project alone is expected to cover about 1 percent of the districts water heating needs each year. $2 million dollars total to cover 1 percent seems like a bargain, hopefully there will be continued similar commitments in the future, not only to cover those other energy needs, but to continue to drive down the initial costs of constructing, and setup of the solar roof panels that then take care of those needs.