Conservation Minnesota

A Community Solar Program That Works for Duluth and Beyond

Solar Panels. Picture from Anusor P Nachol at Freedigitalphotos.net

Solar Panels. Picture from Anusor P Nachol at Freedigitalphotos.net

There are exciting things happening in Duluth as we move toward a brighter, healthier future with renewable energy. The Duluth Sustainability Team implemented a public engagement process to develop our Energy Action Plan (EAP) and our Climate Action Plan (CAP). As a participant in the Minnesota Solar Challenge, Duluth is working toward implementing best practices to:

  • Remove barriers in the local permitting process
  • Understand and adopt reasonable permit fees charged to solar installations
  • Ensure that land use regulations, including comprehensive plan language and zoning treats solar energy installations fairly and consistently with other similar land uses

(www.duluthmn.gov)

Earlier this year, Conservation Minnesota mailed over 16,000 surveys to Duluth residents to find out if they support or oppose past and potential future local actions regarding energy use and conservation. The survey received a response rate of over 10% with 1774 people responding, which clearly indicates Duluth is looking toward a more sustainable future. Because of your interest in energy use, conservation, and renewables, we thought you’d like to know what’s happening with Minnesota Power’s proposed Community Solar Program.

Minnesota Power has proposed a new community solar program for Duluth, which not only affects Duluth residents’ ability to participate in community solar, but also residents in Minnesota Power’s larger service area. Community Solar is an exciting possibility, but there are a few adjustments that need to be made to Minnesota Power’s proposal so that individuals and our communities can benefit from community solar, not just Minnesota Power. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has the authority to make changes to Minnesota Power’s plan, and taking a moment to ask the PUC to require these adjustments will support Duluth residents in their vision for a more sustainable, equitable community.

Please take a few seconds to say you support community solar in Duluth and want to see a strong plan from Minnesota Power.

You can ask the Minnesota PUC to require Minnesota Power to incorporate these following critical elements into their community solar plan:

  • Equal opportunities for subscriptions, development, and benefits
  • Fair and transparent rules for all community solar gardens
  • No cap on opportunities for new community solar gardens
  • Choice of ownership and credit for energy produced
  • Environmental protection

Thank you for helping support Duluth in their efforts to incorporate community solar into their energy future.

About Jackie Halberg

Jackie Halberg
With the connections Jackie Halberg has created throughout Northeast Minnesota working in politics, it seems only natural that she be the face of Conservation Minnesota for the region. She will be serving as the community coordinator for Northeast Minnesota, which means she will be working with community leaders and people who want to protect Minnesota’s Great Outdoors throughout the region.
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