MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A solar incentive program in Minnesota appears to be on the chopping block in the Republican-controlled legislature.
Lawmakers in the House voted Thursday to get rid of a $15-million annual awards program that helped homeowners and businesses install solar panels. The program required that the parts and panels were built in Minnesota.
Republicans said the program costs too much for the low number of jobs it creates.
Solar industry experts argue that’s just not true, and that without the solar grants the solar industry will be crippled.
“Our members established their businesses here with the promise there would be $15 million allocated annually, that this state was interested in solar broadly and that you all would continue to support us. This program brought companies, and then companies brought jobs and the jobs fed families.” David Schaffer, of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association said.
The bill passed in the House Thursday night to abolish these grants. It now heads to the Senate.
The Minnesota House also passed a bill Thursday to give Xcel Energy a head start on building a new natural gas power plant in Becker.
That’s after the utility phases out two of its coal plants on the site.