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General Renewables


House, Senate agree to 1.5 percent solar energy standard; energy bill moves on for final vote

The Minnesota House and Senate agreed on Tuesday, May 14 to an energy bill that requires investor-owned utilities to meet a 1.5 percent solar energy standard by 2020. The House and Senate versions of the energy bill reached a compromise in conference committee; the bill now moves on to the overall Legislature for a final vote.

The bill requires that 1.5 percent of the utility’s total retail electric sales to retail customers in Minnesota be generated from solar by 2020. Electric co-ops and municipal utilities are exempt from the standard.

In addition to the solar energy mandate, the bill includes more incentives to expand solar as an energy source in Minnesota. For instance, the bill allows for the creation of community solar gardens and includes a “Made in Minnesota” solar energy production incentive to install solar equipment made by Minnesota manufacturers.

The bill’s conference committee report is available here.

Still time to apply for REAP funding; deadlines are May 31

There is still time to apply for 2013 funding from the Rural Energy for America Program, as deadlines were extended to May 31, 2013. REAP is available to Minnesota farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for the development and construction of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects. REAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The application deadlines were recently extended to May 31, 2013 for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvement (REEI) Grant and Combination Guaranteed Loan and Grant Programs, as well as for Renewable Energy System Feasibility Study grants. Deadline for REEI Guaranteed Loans is July 15, 2013. A total of $60 million is available nationwide for REAP during fiscal year 2013. The funding announcement is posted at the Federal Register. For an application and for information on applicant eligibility, past awards and potential financial assistance, visit Minnesota REAP.

 DOE offers funding for clean energy projects on tribal lands

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is offering up to $7 million to deploy clean energy systems in tribal communities. Through the “Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country” funding opportunity, up to $4.5 million is available for projects installing clean energy systems that reduce fossil fuel use by at least 15 percent in either new or existing tribal buildings. The “Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance” funding opportunity offers up to $2.5 million for projects installing renewable energy and energy efficiency that reduce fossil fuel use in existing tribal buildings by at least 30 percent. The full funding opportunities are described on the Tribal Energy Program website. 

 MN Goes Green event is Saturday, May 18 at St. Paul Union Depot

MN Goes Green, a free event presented by Xcel Energy, will be held Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the St. Paul Union Depot in St. Paul. The event strives for a greener tomorrow and is created to educate the public on incorporating simple, practical, sustainable and fun ideas into everyday life. For information, go to

 Minnesota Energy Tip: Look for the ENERGY STAR® label

Whether shopping for a new refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, computer, TV, lighting products, clothes washer, windows, doors, and more, always look for the ENERGY STAR® label. That may sound like a commercial, but it’s some of the best advice to help consumers and our nation save energy. Read more.