Report: Solar Power for Minnesota

Date: 8 Jun 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This report, done for the Solar Works for Minnesota campaign, explores the value of solar power on schools, libraries, and other public buildings in Minnesota.  It was co-authored by John Farrell of ILSR and Christina Mills of IEER.

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  • Minnesotans spend more than $20 billion dollars every year on these energy imports.
  • With an estimated $378 million dollars in electricity costs for Minnesota’s public buildings, there is a significant opportunity for cost savings.
  • Hennepin County alone pays more than $9 million every year to provide electricity to its offices, hospitals, jails, libraries, courts, and other buildings. That’s equivalent to over $8 per resident.
  • 87% of Minnesota voters support increasing the use of solar power in the state, and 82% of Minnesota voters support policies that encourage the use of solar specifically on Minnesota’s schools.
  • Solar PV could generate as much as 30% of the electricity needs of all Minnesota’s schools.

What Policies Would Help

  • A study of the precise solar potential for public building rooftops
  • A solar energy standard (e.g. 10% by 2030)
  • A CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now) program to promote simple financing for solar
  • Enable the public sector to partner with the private sector to install solar
  • Streamline the local permitting process
  • Establish spending criteria for Xcel Energy’s Renewable Development Fund that promotes solar on public buildings
  • Modify Minnesota’s net metering law to allow buildings to size their on-site solar array to load, even if the latter is greater than 40 kilowatts
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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.