State’s new solar program takes effect

Minnesota sets goal of 30 times more solar energy by 2020

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

It may have gotten lost a bit as the coldest weather in two decades moved over the state, but Minnesota’s new law aimed at using more energy from the sun is now in effect. According to Hannah Terwilliger, clean energy associate at Environment Minnesota, in the next six years alone, the new law is expected to bring 30 times more solar energy to the state, which she compared to Germany in terms of its potential solar resources.

“And Germany is the leading nation in the world for installed solar capacity,” she said. “So, even though we’ve had these long, snowy winters, we still do have a really good opportunity to install solar throughout Minnesota.”

Under the law passed in the last legislative session, all utilities must procure 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar generation by 2020.

In addition to the requirement for utilities, the law also includes other initiatives. One helps defray the costs for residents and businesses to install solar electric systems. Another, said Terwilliger, is the creation of a community solar garden.

“Which means that people who have a house that’s not ideally situated to put solar on their roof will be able to buy a share in a community project, which will allow them to have their energy funded by … solar,” she said.

While it is not mandatory, the law also mentions a statewide goal of 10 percent solar power by 2030.

Minnesota solar legislation details are at