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Franken tours south Minneapolis solar array


by Bob Geiger Staff Writer


Senator touts green energy, jobs during roof-top inspection


U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Minneapolis city councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden made a pitch for green energy Wednesday afternoon at Mulroy’s Auto Body Shop, 3920 Nicollet Ave. S.


Franken toured the 174-panel, 40-kilowatt array, which is scheduled to start providing power for the body shop next week, as an example of how businesses can save money on installing renewable energy systems.


The freshman U.S. Senate Democrat joked with workers helping install the panels, which each measure four feet by six feet.


Minneapolis-based Solarflow Energy, founded by Gerardo Ruiz, is installing the array, which will supply less than 10 percent of Mulroy’s electricity.


Ruiz noted that once it’s plugged into the grid, the array will be the largest solar array in Minneapolis or St. Paul. But not for long. The Minneapolis Convention Center will install 2,600 solar panels later this summer as part of an initiative by the cities to boost solar power capacity by 500 percent in two years.


Franken took a scissors lift to the roof of Mulroy’s to get a close-up view of the solar array, and joked that his shadow would decrease power generation.


As for the development’s creation of renewable energy jobs and decrease in dependence on fossil fuel, Franken exclaimed, “This is like, “Win win win win win.’”


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