Ice Skating Powered by the Sun in Minnesota


Waconia Ice Arena in Minnesota goes solar to save on rising power costs. The installation, provided by JJR Power, is expected to offset the ice rink’s electricity needs with about 50,000 kWh per year and save them about $1000 per year.

You probably don’t associate cold ice skating with power from the hot sun, but the two are coming together in Minnesota. 

Skating rinks are facing rising power costs. In Minnesota, the “State of Hockey,” electricity prices have increased approximately 40% in the last 10 years. In addition, nearly half of the 235 ice arenas in Minnesota are now forced to replace cooling systems that use Freon.


JJR Power, a solar and wind finance and development firm, has come up with a solution: solar power.


JJR Power provided a 39.36 kW system for a new ice arena in the City of Waconia. The company began the project, applied for incentives, and provided the investors to cover the capital costs, so the city didn’t incur any costs for the installation. The city is purchasing the electricity produced by the solar array at approximately 80% of what they were previously paying to Xcel Energy, which should save them about $1000 per year.


The system is expected to produce about 50,000 kWh per year and to offset the ice arena’s electricity needs. JJR Power expects at least 25 – 30 years of useful life out of the system.


“It concerns us that the rising costs of energy are making it even tougher for parents of boys and girls to afford ice time. I grew up playing hockey in this state and still play today. I am also a hockey parent to a 9-year-old so I know that lowering costs for ice arenas is a good thing for all boys and girls who skate in Minnesota,” said Mike Woodley of JJR Power.


The project will also offset about 100,000 pounds of CO2. Preventing this much carbon dioxide from being released to the atmosphere is equivalent to planting 5,000 trees. Over a 30-year span, the system will offset 3,000,000 pounds or 1,500 tons of CO2.


As if that weren’t enough, the project is 100% Minnesota made. Not only was the financing, project development, and installation conducted by Minnesota companies — the project also uses Minnesota-made tenKsolar PV modules.