Minnesota’s burgeoning solar marketplace is doing more than just keeping the lights on while protecting our air and water—it’s also adding jobs to Minnesota’s economy, according to a February report from The Solar Foundation.
The report, which surveyed Minnesota solar businesses directly, found that between September 2012 and early 2014, more than 360 new workers were hired in the industry—a 73 percent increase. Minnesota’s overall job growth rate during the same period was 2 percent. Additionally, the survey showed that Minnesota solar businesses plan to hire an additional 250 workers over the next 12 months.
The report follows the passage of Minnesota’s new 2013 solar laws that require investor-owned utilities—like Xcel Energy, Otter Tail Power and Minnesota Power—to meet 1.5 percent of their electricity needs from solar generation by 2020. This is expected to result in a nearly 30-fold increase in solar generation in Minnesota over the next six years. Additionally, the law laid out guidelines for community solar programs, removed regulatory barriers to small renewable energy projects and paved the way for a new “value of solar” rate to compensate customers fairly for the solar power they provide.