How local governments benefit from wind and solar

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Fresh Energy is dedicated to moving Minnesota toward a future with more clean, renewable energy. Renewables provide many benefits, from cleaning our air and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to generating  construction and manufacturing jobs and keeping our electric bills lower than our neighboring states. Renewables provide yet another benefit that you might not be aware of: wind and solar developments pay millions of dollars a year in local property taxes, helping to fund schools, roads, parks, libraries, and emergency services like police and firefighters.

Since 2004, wind and solar farms have contributed nearly $100 million in property taxes to Minnesota counties. Property tax revenues from wind and solar have seen double-digit growth rates, and now total nearly $14 million a year.  This trend will continue as more low-cost wind and solar are added every year.

The number of counties receiving property tax revenues from wind and solar has also increased steadily. As the map above (from the Department of Energy’s comprehensive Energy Mapping System) shows, wind and solar farms are spread across much of the state. In 2018, more than half of Minnesota’s counties will receive property tax revenues from wind and solar farms, up from just 11 percent in 2004.

For many Greater Minnesota counties, revenues from renewable generation make up a significant portion of their property tax base.  For example, Jackson County—nestled along the Iowa border in southwestern Minnesota—will receive over $2.2 million in property tax revenues from wind farms this year, which will make up 21 percent of the County’s total property taxes collected.

One piece of the puzzle

Production taxes have clearly had a big impact, but they’re really one piece of the puzzle. Every wind and solar project also creates engineering, construction, and maintenance jobs. Land owners benefit from land lease payments to host these projects. And utilities and their customers benefit from locking in low-cost energy sources that can improve soil, water, and air quality in their communities.

The long list of benefits makes clean energy a no brainer for every county in Minnesota. Fresh Energy will continue to work with leaders at the city, county, and state level to bring wind and solar to communities across the state.