Today, the Minnesota Department of Administration released an addendum to their community solar garden request that addresses concerns Fresh Energy, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, and the Just Community Solar Coalition raised about access for low income communities.
Fresh Energy Policy Associate Ben Passer praised the changes as an important step to making solar options work for all Minnesotans.
“This decision is a very positive step for expanding access to solar in Minnesota. By specifically requesting that solar projects take subscriber pool make-up and financial barriers, such as credit score requirements into account, the state is placing clear emphasis on the need for policies and programs that work for people of all incomes.”
“We’re optimistic that developers will see this as an opportunity to serve a broader market of consumers as they bring more local, clean energy to our communities.”
Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light Executive Director Julia Nerbonne added:
“We are tremendously gratified that the State of Minnesota revised the solicitation, along lines that we and Fresh Energy requested, by adding consideration of whether the solar gardens that serve the State will also serve low income and minority communities. We hope that congregations and solar developers with which they are working will avail themselves of the opportunity to offer both the State and members of low income and minority communities, subscriptions in the faith based arrays currently being planned.”
“The possibility that the State of Minnesota might serve as a ‘back-up’ subscriber—assuring stability in arrays that reach out to disadvantaged communities—is a first-of-its-kind, watershed development. It teaches the lesson of human solidarity, of individuals and the major institutions of society joining forces to work against climate catastrophe. What a wonderful gift to the negotiators who are heading to Paris!”