Groundbreaking legislation enables solar energy initiatives

During the recently ended Minnesota legislative session, groundbreaking legislation was passed that will enable large-scale solar energy investment in Minnesota and keep the state on the forefront of the nation’s renewable energy movement. Mayors R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and Chris Coleman of Saint Paul joined state legislators, state energy officials and industry professions at the State Capitol on June 4 to tout the cooperative legislation and its incentives that encourage the expansion of solar energy development and infrastructure for home, business, and government.

Among the provisions of the legislation are rebates for Minnesotans who install solar systems, grants for solar in schools and public buildings, funding for solar energy job training, and support for innovative large scale projects that will usher in a new era for solar development. The 2009 cooperative legislative effort for solar energy transformation is modeled on the 1994 effort to open doors to large-scale wind energy investment in Minnesota.  

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are taking the lead on local initiatives on solar energy. In 2008, the cities were designated Solar America Cities by the U.S. Department of Energy.  Early accomplishments in addition to these state policy gains include the installation of two solar charging systems for plug-in hybrid cars for the car-sharing HourCar program; solar training options at local community colleges to create green jobs; and developing opportunities to showcase energy efficiency and solar in the area near the Central Corridor.

June 6, 2009

Published Jun. 4, 2009