Connexus Energy is one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Energy for 2024!

Connexus Energy is one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Energy for 2024! Main Photo

28 Mar 2024


The member-owned utility Connexus Energy, serving around 145,000 consumers north of the Twin Cities, was one of the first cooperatives in the U.S. to develop a smart grid. In 2023, it became the first utility in the region to break ground for batteries at a substation, as part of a goal to build greater resilience and meet the state’s goal of 100% renewables by 2040.

But Connexus is especially proud of the butterflies. Its pioneering development of “solar farms” across the state—combining native prairie plants and flowers (like Monarch favorite milkweed) with arrays of PV panels—has helped demonstrate that renewable development doesn’t need to come at the expense of biodiversity and other local priorities. It also helped spur development of the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Renewable Energy Credit. In 2020, Connexus worked with Argonne National Lab to place cameras and microphones at one of its pollinator-friendly solar arrays to help researchers track visits by birds and wildlife to measure biodiversity. This led to the first studies of their kind, showing that biodiversity can benefit from solar farms that are designed with them in mind. 

Click here for the complete article!