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. We are thankful for the support of our members and the collaboration of our partners to help us accomplish these wins!

MnSEIA is moving solar forward with policy at the Minnesota State Capitol
Image Courtesy of the Minnesota State Capitol

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 big win possible.

While several “big ticket” clean energy proposals missed a chance at passage this session, we see this as an opportunity for 2020 and thereafter. We will continue to zealously represent the Minnesota solar industry at the Capitol.

MnSEIA successfully lobbied for these bills in 2019 (click on the below links to learn more):

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 Minnesota. 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 solar 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 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.