2018 a great year for solar in Minnesota

By Ben Delman on December 16, 2018

This year marked our first full year of working across the state to help grow Minnesota’s community of solar supporters. And what a year it was! We educated hundreds of Minnesotans about solar energy and helped dozens of families go solar. Our work was just one part of solar’s great year in the state. Let’s take a look back at all that happened.

The year started with a report that from the Minnesota Department of Commerce that found more than 700 MW of solar have been installed in the state. What’s more, the cost of going solar had dropped by 60% since 2010. In February, we released a guide for homeowners that are interested in selling their home. The guide helps solar homeowners walk through the steps to maximize the value of their system when they sell. It’s also useful for prospective solar owners to know what to expect when they decide to sell. In March, the IRS released an important decision on how solar homeowners may be able to include the cost of battery storage as part of the 30% Federal Tax Credit.

As the winter began to thaw, solar heated up in the north west part of the state as we launched the Bemidji Solar Co-op. It kicked-off with a standing room only information session. Meanwhile, Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis inaugurated a community solar system that will provide power to the church and to the neighborhood. In May, the Minnesota Capitol switched on the first of many new solar arrays. The city of Winona decided to take part in the Solsmart Program in order to make it easier for residents to go solar. And, the Minneapolis Solar Co-op became the first in the state to select an installer.

Solar did face a bit of a scare in June. The legislature tried to sneak language that would have undercut the value of solar generated from community projects into an omnibus energy bill. Fortunately, solar supporters quickly rallied to get the word out, and Governor Dayton vetoed the harmful language.

In July, we held Minnesota’s first statewide Solar Congress. Held at the University of Minnesota-Morris, we brought together solar supporters from around the state for a day of solar learning and celebration. After the Congress, we helped spread solar at the State Fair.

As the leaves started to fall, and the first installations for solar co-ops in Minneapolis and Bemidji were completed, dozens of solar homeowners across the state showed off their systems as part of the National Solar Tour. This was a great opportunity for people interested in solar to learn directly from solar homeowners about their experience going solar. We also learned that Duluth is going to use solar to power electric vehicle chargers.

Duluth wasn’t the only place to end the year with innovative solar projects. Eden Prairie encouraged dozens of residents to sign up for community solar in the month of October and surpassed organizers’ sign-up goals. In Ramsey, Connexus Energy has built the state’s first solar plus storage site.

As the year comes to a close, we have a lot to look back on, but are even more excited for what the next year will bring for solar in Minnesota.