Northern Minnesota communities only win if we all strive toward the goal of our state achieving 100 percent carbon-free energy production by 2050, as the goal was announced in early March by Gov. Tim Walz. This goal is achievable, is supported by most of our state's energy producers, and is one we at Prairie Restorations/Boreal Natives believe in strongly.

The presence of a large expanse of solar panels is a new sight to most of us in our communities, yet these solar arrays are silent, clean, and quiet neighbors. Roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar both quietly provide energy all year, as PV (photovoltaic ) panels are most efficient in cold temperatures. If ground-mounted arrays are planted with native habitat for vegetation, the sites help improve our community's soil and water quality; provide forage for native butterflies and insects, honey bees, songbirds, and gamebirds; and produce non-polluting energy.

We have employees across this state, including our office site near Duluth, who will continue to benefit from good-paying jobs installing and managing native, pollinator-friendly (flowering) habitat at ground-mounted solar arrays. Minnesota Power already partners with us to create critically needed native habitat at many of its solar sites while it produces and distributes clean energy across northern Minnesota.

We encourage you to support native, pollinator-friendly solar in Minnesota for all the good it offers all of us.

Colleen Hollinger

Princeton, Minn.


The writer is a member of Prairie Restoration in Princeton and of Boreal Natives, which is based in Esko. The organizations' seed, plant, and tree production are located outside of Cloquet.