Minneapolis wins awards for solar energy and clean energy

Minneapolis has received awards for solar energy and clean energy: a SolSmart Gold designation award and a Minnesota Clean Energy Community Award.

SolSmart Gold designation

Minneapolis earned a national SolSmart Gold designation for making it faster, easier and cheaper to go solar. The award from SolSmart – a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy – recognizes Minneapolis’ national leadership in advancing solar energy. A SolSmart designation signals that the community is open for solar business, helping to attract solar industry investment and generate economic development and local jobs.

To achieve a designation, cities and counties take steps to reduce solar “soft costs” to save money for consumers. Soft costs include planning and zoning, permitting, financing, customer acquisition, and installation labor. Communities that take sufficient action are designated gold, silver or bronze.

Minneapolis efforts include updating zoning requirements, reducing solar permitting time and costs, education and outreach, training staff and solar installers, advocating at the Public Utilities Commission, placing solar capability on City-owned buildings, and committing to community solar gardens.

Minnesota Clean Energy Community Award – Clean Energy Partnership

Minneapolis received an achievement award as part of Minnesota’s first Clean Energy Community Awards program. The awards acknowledge work done by Minnesota communities’ programs, policies and technologies to further the state’s clean energy goals and encourage energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation. The Minnesota Commerce Department is the sponsor and coordinator of the awards program with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy and The McKnight Foundation.

Minneapolis received its award for the formation of the Clean Energy Partnership. This approach partners the City of Minneapolis in a unique way with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy to help the City reach its Climate Action Plan and Energy Vision for 2040 goals of a 30 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. Through the Clean Energy Partnership, the City and the utilities study, prioritize, plan, coordinate, implement, market, track and report progress on clean energy activities in Minneapolis.

Climate change is a defining challenge of this century and even this decade. The scientific consensus holds that increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are destabilizing the earth’s climate, and that human activity is the primary driver of these emissions. Without rapid action to reduce these emissions, we will face threats to our economic livelihood, public health, and supplies of food, fresh water, and power.