2019 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

In celebration of MnSEIA’s accomplishments at the end of the 2019 Minnesota Legislative Session we deliver this policy update. MnSEIA truly Moved Minnesota Solar Forward in the face of many obstacles this legislative session. We helped advance many new projects that will foster innovative solar industry growth. Our efforts this legislative session will reap rewards for the industry over the coming years.

Alongside these achievements is the benefit of our diligence: not even one anti-solar bill passed during the legislative session, leaving the solar industry unbridled and able to move forward with strength. We appreciate the tremendous support from our membership to make this happen. A total of $1,135,000 dollars was allocated to the solar industry this year, and our members’ backing made this win possible.

While several “big ticket” clean energy proposals missed a chance at passage this session, we see this as a golden opportunity to Move MN Solar Forward next year and thereafter. We will continue to zealously represent the Minnesota solar industry at the Capitol.

MNSEIA-LOBBIED BILLS THAT PASSED

Energy Storage: Advances energy storage technology with pilot projects, studies, and utility requirements.

DC to AC: Changes the Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards Program measurement from Direct Current to Alternating Current to align with other statutes.

Brightfields: Appropriates $300,000 to fund a study and forge a pathway for solar on closed landfills.

Anti-Solar Bills: NONE

The Energy Storage bill will yield real-world, multi-million dollar pilot projects, and it will establish a long-term pathway for more utility-scale storage deployment throughout the State. This year we finished our two-year effort on this historic bill, and we are looking forward to helping our State's Investor Owned Utilities start implementing their storage projects. At the outset, we believe this will yield several utility-scale storage projects in the State and line up many more projects in the future. 

The Direct Current to Alternating Current switch aligns Solar*Rewards with net-metering and lets C&I solar members install about 15% more on a commercial roof. This powerful language change will improve the Solar*Rewards program.

MnSEIA's Brightfields initiative will also lead us towards a future in which solar on closed landfills and brownfields represent a robust market. The study will help us determine what Closed Landfill Program sites are physically and legally capable of hosting solar installations. The study is an initial investment into a nascent solar on brownfields market.

OTHER GREAT CLEAN ENERGY POLICY WINS

Sustainable Solar Energy from Agricultural Plant By-Products: Appropriates $185,000 from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Morris, to use regional plant-based agricultural by-products to fabricate solar cells for creating renewable and affordable energy.

White Earth Nation Community Solar for Economic Resilience: Appropriates $500,000 for an agreement with Rural Renewable Energy to provide 200 kW for a White Earth community-owned solar garden.

Commercial PACE Change: Modifies the commercial PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) loan program to provide more accurate and robust financing metrics for cost-effective energy improvements.

Energy Utility Diversity Stakeholder Group: Requires the Public Utilities Commission to convene a stakeholder group to examine the opportunities for Minnesota's utilities to attract a diverse workforce.

Pollinator Study and Reporting Requirements: Requires Community Solar Developers to report to MnSEIA and the Board of Water and Soil Resources about their pollinator habitat use.

Learn more about the benefits of MnSEIA membership and our annual Gateway to Solar Conference by contacting MnSEIA Staff at Info@MnSEIA.org.  

MN State Capitol Building with blue sky and steps in front