Solar power in Minnesota

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University of Minnesota solar car

Solar power in Minnesota has been increasing, as the cost of photovoltaics has decreased. In 1983 Minnesota adopted a net metering rule which allows customers generating up to 40 kW to use net metering, with the kilowatt hour surplus rolled over each month, or optionally credited at the retail rate.[1]

In May 2013, the Minnesota legislature adopted a mandate on investor-owned utilities in the state that requires them to produce 1.5% of their electricity from solar power by 2020 with the bill also raising the state's cap on net metering from 40 kW to 1 MW. This mandate is in addition to the state's renewable portfolio standard of 25% by 2025 and it's estimated that affected utilities will have to add 450 MW of solar by 2020 to comply with the 1.5% requirement.[2]

Minnesota's largest solar array is the 600 kW array on the roof of the Minneapolis Convention Center,[3] but a 2 MW array is being constructed in Slayton, as well as a 1.1 MW array in Bloomington.[4] In January 2015, Ecolab announced it would be going 100% solar powered by purchasing power from community solar gardens to be built by SunEdison.[5] Ecolab's share of the power would be 16MW, more than the amount of solar power in the state at the time of the announcement. If completely subscribed the solar gardens could provide up to 200MW. The Marshall Solar Energy Project is a proposed 62 MW solar farm that would be built on 500 acres near Marshall, Minnesota.[6]

A 2012 estimate suggests that a typical 5 kW system will pay for itself in about 10 years. With incentives, a $25,000 system can be installed for a cost after the first year of $8,064, and will generate a profit of over $24,000 over its 25-year life.[7]


Source: NREL[8]
Minnesota Grid-Connected PV Capacity (MW)[9][10][11][12][13][14][15]
Year Capacity Installed % Change
2007 0.5 0.3 150%
2008 1.0 0.3 100%
2009 1.9 0.9 90%
2010 3.6 1.7 89%
2011 4.8 1.2 33%
2012 11.3 6.5 135%
2013 15.8 3.8 32%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Minnesota - Net Metering
  2. ^ Haugen, Dan (2013-05-24). "Minnesota’s new solar law: Looking beyond percentages". Midwest Energy News. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  3. ^ Minneapolis Convention Center Solar Panel Project Finished Ahead of Schedule
  4. ^ Energy firm to put solar array near wind farms
  5. ^ Ecolab to go all-solar in Minnesota, DAVID SHAFFER, Star Tribune, January 13, 2015
  6. ^ Planned solar farm in southwest MN draws fire from residents, Mark Steil, Duluth News Tribune, January 21, 2015
  7. ^ Minnesota
  8. ^ "PV Watts". NREL. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  10. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 20. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  11. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  12. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  13. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  14. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  15. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 

External links[edit]