Lawmakers agree on solar energy standard

From MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar….

The Minnesota House and Senate have agreed to an energy bill that includes a 1.5 percent solar energy standard for investor-owned utilities.

The House version of the bill had required investor-owned utilities to provide at least 4 percent of their power through solar generation by late 2025. The Senate had approved a bill that included a 1 percent solar standard.

The conference committee working out differences between the two bills decided on a 1.5 percent solar energy standard that will take effect sooner. Investor-owned utilities, such as Xcel Energy, must meet the standard by the end of 2020. Iron mining facilities and paper mills are exempt, as are electricity co-ops and municipal utilities.

The compromise goes back to the House and Senate for final votes before the Legislature adjourns next week.

Republicans say the requirement will be costly for residents and businesses, but DFL legislators who authored the bill say many people face rate hikes because utilities are relying too heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

You can read the conference committee report here.

  • rolf westgard

    IMO the 1.5% will be difficult and costly, and the 4% would have been madness.

  • Janelle

    I would suggest recruiting companies with large rooftops to put solar panels on. The large solar farms that they have in AZ and other parts of the SW are good for that area because it’s all desert. They’re not using the land for anything anyway. I’m OK with this solar standard but I just don’t want to see acres of farmland taken out for it.