New solar array installed at Parade Ice Garden

(From left) Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb, Park Superintendent Jayne Miller and Lee Gabler of Xcel Energy next to Parade Ice Garden's new solar array. Photo courtesy of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

A solar array featuring 374 solar panels has been installed on the rooftop of Parade Ice Garden in the Lowry Hill neighborhood.

Xcel Energy has awarded the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board a $969,000 grant to fund the solar power project. The Park Board has provided $150,000 in matching funds.

The solar array is expected to generate 10 to 15 percent of the building’s annual electrical needs, according to park officials. The Parade Ice Garden at 600 Kenwood Parkway offers year-around ice-skating.

In addition to the solar project, the Parade Ice Garden has gone through other renovations designed to make the building more energy efficient, including new refrigeration systems, ice sheets, a heating and cooling system, new roof and LED lighting.

Park leaders say the improvements will add up to about $80,000 in annual savings for taxpayers and a reduction in 515 tons of annual CO2 emissions.

The Park Board plans to unveil smaller solar projects at parks throughout the city later this year, including at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Kingfield, East Phillips Park and Webber Park.

Solar projects are planned for Lake Nokomis’ main beach, Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun and the new Northeast Athletic Field Recreation Center.

Park Superintendent Jayne Miller celebrated the solar project with Xcel Energy officials and other park leaders Thursday.

“Sustainability is a core value of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and we’re grateful for partners like Xcel Energy that make these big projects possible,” Miller said. “The exciting improvements at Parade Ice Garden and upcoming solar projects across Minneapolis parks will have a huge economic, environmental and educational impact for years to come.”