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Bill establishes solar energy standards in Minnesota

The Minnesota Senate passed clean energy and jobs legislation Friday that establishes a solar energy standard of 1 percent by 2025. The bill - which will create jobs in the state and will make solar energy more affordable and more accessible for all Minnesotans - passed the Senate by a vote of 37-26. The Minnesota Clean Energy and Jobs campaign released the following statement:

"This legislation is the good first step forward in the effort to create good jobs, to make solar energy more affordable and more accessible, and to protect Minnesota's air, land and water for generations to come. We have a responsibility to compete in the marketplace for clean energy and compete for the jobs that come with it.

"We must act this year on legislation that establishes a strong solar energy standard, which will catalyze investment, creates new jobs, and show that our state is open for renewable energy business. We look forward to working with Conferees as they negotiate a strong solar energy standard for the state of Minnesota."

The legislation includes the following provisions:

--Requires investor-owned utilities to provide at least 1 percent of its power through solar electricity by the end of 2025.

--Requires the Department of Commerce to calculate a "value of solar," which would determine how much utilities would pay small producers. The amount would be adjusted annually.

--The bill also would offer incentives to owners of solar equipment made in Minnesota.