UPDATE - MN State Senate and House Pass a 1.5% Solar Standard:
This is great news for all Minnesotans! The Minnesota Senate and house dropped the percentage of Minnesota energy that must come from solar, but they moved up the timeline to 2020. This means that over the next 6 and a half years Minnesota will have 450 MW of solar installed.
450 MW is enough solar to power over 110,000 homes! The great news for homeowners is that 50MW actually has to come from smaller residential installations.
Minnesota Made solar panels will continue to receive additional funding at $15 Million each year.
This legislation also opens up opportunities for community solar gardens, larger offsite installations that members of a community own partial shares of.
Look for further blog posts about more of the specifics of the legislation soon.
10 Percent Minnesota Solar Legislation
Environment Minnesota, a statewide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy organization, in partnership with the Solar Works for Minnesota coalition, is pushing for legislation which would require that Minnesota generate 10 percent of its electricity from solar by 2030.
The mandate would create an expected 2,000 new jobs in just the first year and cost only up to one dollar more per month in bills for individuals. When compared with the nine dollar a month per customer increase that Xcel is currently seeking to upgrade its nuclear plants the choice is clear.
Environmentally conscious, clean, job creating solar energy is vastly preferable to dangerous, waste-creating nuclear energy, especially at 9 times the cost. And Minnesotans agree – according to a January poll by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, 73 percent of voters said they would be willing to pay that extra dollar a month to help protect our environment.
Currently, Xcel is required to generate 24 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2020 thanks to mandates. Left to their own devices, utility companies like Xcel will not invest in our environment, they have built their businesses around the dirty fossil fuels of the past and are scared to change. Mandates are necessary to spur innovation and usher in the future.
However, Otter Tail Power spokeswoman Cris Oehler says “Markets, not mandates, should drive energy development.” What she forgets is that a healthy environment is not something anyone can put a price tag on and is something that society and those precious markets cannot function without.
Solar is a perfect opportunity to boost job growth, our economy, and protect our environment. Especially since it’s an asset we already have in place thanks to Minnesota solar manufacturers like Silicon Energy, tenKsolar, and multitudes of small businesses like us, All Energy Solar.
Tell Governor Dayton that you support the 10% by 2030 Solar Mandate here: https://secure3.convio.net/engage/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1325