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St. Paul and Minneapolis Selected as Solar Cities

March 28, 2008

St. Paul and Minneapolis Selected as Solar Cities

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2008

Cities will receive $200,000 grant after submitting unique joint application

(St. Paul, MN --)  The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis have been selected as Solar Cities by the US Department of Energy and will jointly receive a $200,000 grant to develop a strategic plan to make solar energy more accessible for homes and businesses by the year 2015. The Minnesota Office of Energy Security assisted the cities in obtaining the grant.

Saint Paul and Minneapolis will partner with other local organizations to develop a strategic planning process to mainstream solar in the coming decade and will implement dozens of projects during the next two years.  The projects include a Minneapolis commissioned 600 kW photovoltaic (PV) system and 20-30 solar projects using an innovative leasing model. Both of these efforts are partially funded through Xcel Energy's Renewable Development Fund.

"This recognition of Minneapolis and Saint Paul is a great compliment to Governor Pawlenty's renewable energy initiatives already underway in Minnesota statewide," said Edward Garvey, Director of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. "Solar energy has tremendous potential to generate environmentally friendly power and heat for homes and businesses, and to bring economic opportunity to our region."

"This is an exciting opportunity for Minneapolis and Saint Paul to team up on an issue that is important to both of us," said Mayor R.T. Rybak. "We have many solar projects and other environmentally focused initiatives underway, but this allows us to take that work a step farther. By creating a plan to broaden the use of renewable energy in our communities, we're truly building for a more green future."

"Saint Paul is proud to play their part in making Minnesota a national leader in sustainability," Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. "By looking for alternative fuel sources like solar energy, we move our communities to be more energy independent and more responsible to the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions."

The "Solar in the Cities" initiative is supported by the State of Minnesota's Department of Commerce and other partners including:

  • Xcel Energy

  • Minnesota Renewable Energy Society

  • Green Institute

  • freener-g

  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

  • Neighborhood Energy Connection

  • Century College

  • League of Minnesota Cities 

These projects further the federal government's Solar America Initiative (SAI), which aims to make electricity from solar photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional electricity by 2015.  Combined with industry cost share and funding from each city, total investment in all 12 cities is estimated at $12.1 million. Cities designated as Solar America Cities, which will each receive $200,000 from DOE to integrate a variety of solar energy technologies throughout the city, include: Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Knoxville, TN; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; San Antonio, TX; San Jose, CA; Santa Rosa, CA; and Seattle, WA.