Minnesota has been the leader in moving forward policies that promote clean, renewable energy development. Despite this, Minnesota has made little progress in advancing a renewable energy solution that can be tapped virtually anywhere in the state: solar power. Due to our clear skies and moderate temperature, Minnesota has the sixth best solar resource in the county. According to Environment Minnesota, tapping just 10% of the solar energy available would, within 20 years, provide more energy than is currently provided by nuclear power plants, half as much used by cars and vehicles, and half as much energy generated from traditional coal-fired power plants. Therefore, there is a tremendous opportunity to advance solar power development in Minnesota; a development that would create jobs, further transition Minnesota to a clean energy economy, reduce our carbon emissions, reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and continue our state’s tradition as a leader in renewable energy development.
A key component to help encourage the production of solar in our state is a guaranteed price for energy generated. Currently, there is no set price for selling generated solar power back to the grid, making a solar investment a venture into the unknown. An assured price for solar power or other renewable energy resources produced on public buildings will encourage more buildings to take place in renewable energy resources like solar power. Considering the large potential Minnesota has to culminate solar power, a guaranteed price for the energy is the next step to take in the fight to promote clean, renewable energy resources.
MPIRG can play a significant role in the introduction of this movement. With chapters at University of Minnesota Twin Cities, University of Minnesota Morris, and University of Minnesota Duluth, we can use our campus relations to broaden the existing coalition to include the U of M system and push at the state legislatures for guaranteed pricing for public buildings that produce solar or other renewable energy resources.
If you would like to help develop a state guaranteed price, or if you would like to learn more about solar, come to the Solar Energy Panel on Tuesday, April 10th from 6:00-7:30pm in Sateren Auditorium (Augsburg College Music Hall). Panelists include Ken Bradley, the program director of Environment Minnesota; Lissa Pawlisch, from the University of Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Team; and Jason Edens, the founding director of Rural Renewable Energy Alliance.
Written by BreAnna Bemboom, Augsburg College