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Report: Solar Power for Minnesota

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 8, 2012 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

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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About 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. More

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