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Reader's view: Minnesota can do better on use of solar power

On Aug. 5, state Rep. Frank Hornstein, Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association President Dustin Denison, Minnesota Community Solar co-founder Peter Teigland, University of Minnesota Solar Suitability team member Devon Piernot, and others gathered in Minneapolis to discuss how Minnesota could become a solar leader.

Piernot, who helped map Minnesota’s solar potential, stated, “Our ultimate goal is to see more of our state powered by the sun. It’s one thing to tell someone that they should consider solar energy. It is a whole other ballgame when you can show them their home or business on a map and they can see for themselves that solar energy is possible.”

Minnesota ranked 21st in the nation for installed solar per capita in 2013. We can do better.

Congressman Keith Ellison said at the event, “It is our moral obligation to slow the worst effects of climate change, and I look forward to partnering with Environment Minnesota to ensure that we are supporting the state of Minnesota and EPA in reducing carbon pollution through the common-sense Clean Power Plan.”

Solar could help Minnesota meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 41 percent by 2030, as laid out in the Clean Power Plan. We can do it. Minnesota is on the right path. In 2013, Minnesota created solar-energy standards and became the first state to establish a value-of-solar tariff, which sets a fixed price for solar that accounts for all benefits customers provide to society. 2013 also brought Minnesota 864 solar jobs, which were among the 140,000 solar jobs created across the U.S. that year. Switching to solar is becoming increasingly easier and less expensive, and it can only improve.

I am optimistic about Minnesota’s energy future. We need to give our representatives support and tell them to continue moving our state forward.

Tatiana Hakanson


The writer is a field organizer for Environment Minnesota.