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Solar panels shine light on educational opportunity

Company’s $110,000 grant brings energy to new Metropolitan State building

By: | May 9, 2016 9:00 am

Quality education powers the future of our communities, and Xcel Energy is proud to play a role in providing energy for the new state-of-the-art Science Education Center on the campus of Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn.

Energy for the 60,000-square-foot building, in the form of a roof-mounted, 15-kilowatt photovoltaic array, is provided by an Xcel Energy grant. Classes started up earlier this year, and the facility will serve more than 800 science majors and 500 non-science majors.

MSU PV Panels Perspective sm

“It is great to see this grant benefit such a wonderful new facility,” said Laura McCarten, regional vice president, NSP-Minnesota, who was on hand for a recent grand opening event. “Xcel Energy is proud to support higher education that provides new opportunities for students.”

According to the university, 40 percent of students at the new center are historically underrepresented, post-traditional or indigenous persons, 18 percent are active military or veterans students, and more than 50 percent are women.

McCarten was joined by Xcel Energy Account Manager Barb Jerhoff, who worked closely with Metropolitan State University to make the solar panels a reality.

“We are thrilled to see the new Science Education Center open and already helping prepare students for careers, some of which may be with Xcel Energy in the near future,” Jerhoff said. “I’m honored to have been involved in the development of our solar array on this impressive new building.”

The festivities earlier this month included remarks by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven Rosenstone, and interim Metropolitan State President Devinder Malhotra, and Minnesota State Sen. Foung Hawj, who described the new center as “a beacon for the east side of St. Paul.”

And thanks to Xcel Energy, that beacon is shining a bit brighter.


A millennial at heart, Tom enjoys discovering innovative ways to bridge technological gaps between generations. Once drove an EV1 in the 1990s. Proud to share a first name with Edison.

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