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Minnesota Passes Bill To Increase Solar On Public Buildings With Local Equipment

The sun shines on Minnesota’s Capitol

Legislators pass bill to increase solar on state schools, hospitals, and other public buildings with solar equipment manufactured in Minnesota

SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota legislature has passed and the Governor has signed HF1752/SF1463, an approximately $500 million bonding bill that included an option for public buildings to utilize solar energy. This will help state schools, hospitals, police stations, and other public buildings to install solar energy this year and into the future. Together, with the Legislature, the Governor and his agencies’ support, this measure is a good first step towards creating jobs in both construction and manufacturing across Minnesota.
This provision will allow public building projects financed by bonding to use 5 percent of the project cost for solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal systems, providing local, clean energy for electricity, heating, and cooling for our public buildings. Best of all, the fuel is free, bringing long-term utility bill savings to thousands of Minnesota public buildings – including classrooms in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) and other state-funded buildings. This translates to direct savings for those responsible for paying the state utility bills – the taxpayers.
As Randy Hagen, president of Solar Skies in Alexandria points out: “Including solar on Minnesota’s schools, hospitals, and other public buildings in the bonding bill shows bipartisan support for Minnesota-made energy and companies like Solar Skies. It provides a way to grow solar manufacturing in the state—bringing jobs to Minnesota—and reducing the heating costs of our public buildings.”
This legislation is an opportunity for more money in taxpayers’ pocketbooks and more jobs for Minnesotans. Shar Knutson, president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, said, “The AFL-CIO applauds this bipartisan solar bonding provision as a path to get Minnesota workers back on the job and create good, local, union jobs in clean energy for Minnesota. Solar is a booming business and we want to make sure that Minnesota’s working men and women are at the forefront of manufacturing and installing Minnesota’s solar energy future.”
Many Minnesota business partners supported the legislation, including Gary Shaver president and CEO of Silicon Energy, based in Mt. Iron, who praised the job creation and economic development potential of this bonding provision.
“As Minnesota’s newest solar manufacturer, we are excited that Minnesota has made a commitment to install Made in Minnesota solar products on state buildings in the bonding bill,” Shaver said. “Minnesota’s Legislature and Governor Dayton’s focus on nurturing Minnesota’s nascent renewable energy industry through the passage of this bonding provision not only promotes the use of clean, renewable energy in Minnesota, it also helps to sustain existing renewable energy manufacturing jobs and create new ones, especially in areas of the state that have been plagued with high unemployment and stagnant economies. Silicon Energy would especially like to recognize the Iron Range legislative delegation for their ongoing dedication and commitment to enlightened energy policy and local economic growth through local manufacturing. Silicon Energy remains committed to the view that the United States can not only design world class products, but also support our local economies through the local manufacturing of these products.”
Solar Works for Minnesota is a statewide coalition of over 150 businesses, labor groups, and nonprofits working to advance solar energy in Minnesota. The coalition includes the BlueGreen Alliance, Fresh Energy, the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association (MnSEIA), Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Environment Minnesota, the Institute for Local Self Reliance, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Izaak Walton League Midwest Office, and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG).
Solar Works for Minnesota applauds the bipartisan work of the Minnesota Legislature to create jobs, support business, increase clean and local energy production, and advance solar energy in Minnesota by passing this legislation.
For more information visit www.SolarMN.org.
Source: Fresh Energy
(http://fresh-energy.org/2012/05/the-sun-shines-on-the-minnesota-capitol)

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