Community solar garden in Green Isle, MN bridging urban/rural divide

October 9, 2020

GREEN ISLE, MINN – As Minnesota leads the nation in community solar garden development, farmers and landowners are saying the ability to lease their land to solar developers is a new cash crop in uncertain times. Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM) teamed up with Minneapolis developer Nokomis Energy to highlight how community solar gardens are adding value to communities across the state, and stability for farmers. 

This week CEEM launched a new video and story highlighting Nathan Dahlke, a corn, soybean and beef cattle farmer in Green Isle who leased 8 acres of land to Nokomis Energy to develop the 1-megawatt Erin Garden. The garden is lowering electricity bills for subscribers, including the local school, and is providing 25 years of reliable income to Dahlke and his young family of five. Watch the video and read more here. 

“Everyone has the freedom to choose how to best use their land,” said Nokomis Energy project developer Nate Bell. “Our aim is to always provide landowners and their communities with projects built around their goals and values. Because of community solar, landowners are impacting their local economies in a meaningful way while further securing their own financial futures.” 

“At Clean Energy Economy MN, we represent a myriad of businesses who rely on Minnesota’s nation-leading community solar garden program. We’ve seen firsthand how this program has grown jobs, and kickstarted capital flowing into rural communities where these projects are being built,” said Amelia Cerling Hennes, CEEM’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs. “Part of our mission is to help educate legislators and the public about how affordable, reliable clean energy is powering our state – and growing jobs and the economy. Community solar gardens check all of those boxes.” 

Legislative efforts to expand and modernize the state’s community solar garden program are ongoing. 


About Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business case for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies.

About Nokomis Energy: Nokomis Energy is a Minnesota based energy developer whose mission is to accelerate clean, local energy deployment through equitable partnerships. Our approach is predicated on creating value for all stakeholders involved in energy development. Through a combination of development and consulting services we use distributed energy to improve grid reliability and provide value to ratepayers. For more information, visit

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