Solar Panels Considered for Correctional Facility in Plymouth – CCX Media –

2:47 PM | Friday, May 7, 2021

The Plymouth Planning Commission recommended approval of 1,300 solar panels to be located at the Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facility in Plymouth.

The panels are non-glare and expected to produce 600,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. No trees would be damaged if the panels are installed.

If the measure is approved by the council, construction could begin right away.


The applicant is requesting a site plan amendment to allow the installation of ground mounted solar panels. Under the plan, 1,300 ground mounted solar panels to be located on the field located south of the Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facility within the existing ten-foot chain link fence area. The solar panels would be located approximately 100 feet from the south property line and approximately 500 feet from the east property line. The panels are mounted on a steel and aluminum racking structure that is approximately seven feet above grade. The installation will not exceed a maximum height of ten feet above grade.

The panels will be arranged into rows from east to west and will not move. Some solar panels rows will connect to an inverter, which will beconnected by directionally bored underground conduit. The proposed solar panels would not produce any glare, as solar panels are specifically built to not reflect any sunlight, but to absorb as much as possible. This is achieved by a glass that is micro-texturized and lightly dyed to be anti-reflective.

The area will be planted with an indigenous pollinator friendly seed mix, which will benefit insects and bird species. The applicant has stated that in their experience in Minnesota, they have never seen any bird fatalities at their projects. In review of a research study conducted at 10 photovoltaic solar facilities (20MW projects) over a time period of 13 years in California and Nevada it is noted that the total bird fatality estimates per megawatt per year average two birds per year. The proposed solar facility is a 0.5MW project, a much smaller project, and bird fatalities are less likely to occur.

No exterior lighting, trees, landscape, or utilities will be modified. The proposed ground mounted solar panels do not produce any sound. There would be no other exterior changes to the building or site.

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May 8, 2021 Harry Hall