As Conservation Minnesota’s west metro community coordinator, I’m often asked by interested community members what specifically their community can do to help move Minnesota towards a new clean energy future.
It’s a great question that I hear often.
There are many ways an individual can make change, including changing lightbulbs, buying a subscription into a solar garden, or calling your state legislator. One way we might not always think about to ensure a clean energy future is to work with your local municipal level elected officials and staff.
Back in 2014 the City of Champlin partnered with three organizations to install four solar arrays on city owned buildings to generate a combined 146 kilowatts of electricity for municipal use. According to the Community Development Director Jon Cox, the project was projected to save the city over $20,000 during its first six years, and over $1 million during its entire 30 year plus life span. Add in the fact that the solar panels themselves were part of the state’s Made in Minnesota solar incentive program and what you get is a municipal project that saves city residents money, creates jobs here in Minnesota, and helps to reduce the air and water pollution associated with burning imported coal.
Some critics might argue that this project is just too small to make a difference, but I’d have to disagree. Champlin’s project has been making a very real difference in the community for almost three years now in the form of cheaper electric bills and helping to create the next generation of clean energy jobs in our state. Just imagine what would happen if all the cities in the west metro area – or state – were to adopt similar projects.
So, if you’re interested in finding out ways your city can follow Champlin’s example and advance projects that promote clean energy or energy efficiency, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org today!