As I sit watching the first snowflakes of the season fall outside it’s hard to remember that Minnesota has a great solar resource. With our long, snowy winters it’s sometimes easy to forget that we do have long uninterrupted blocks of sun throughout the winter that can generate electricity for our homes and businesses.
Right now we’re only using a fraction of the potential energy from the sun. It’s time for Minnesota to invest in more solar energy. Too much of our state’s power comes from dirty forms of energy shipped in from outside the state. We deserve clean, renewable sources of energy that don’t pollute the air and provide jobs and economic benefits to local communities.
Luckily, investing in solar is getting easier in our state. This spring Minnesota passed a bill that will bring 30 times more solar to the state by 2020. Now it’s time for our cities and communities to step up and lead the charge. Programs like community solar gardens and PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) can bring solar power to individual residents and small businesses. For people like me who live in a rental property, installing solar isn’t an option. Community solar gardens give us the option to have our electricity supplied by clean technology at an affordable rate.
PACE financing lowers the barrier for small businesses by helping to defray the installation costs of energy-efficient or renewable-energy technology. By making solar power affordable, everyone has the opportunity to improve the quality of our air and environment. Contact your city council members to urge them to support new solar options for your community.
Hanna Terwilliger is a clean energy associate at Environment Minnesota.
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