City now helping businesses with costs for solar installations, other investments to reduce pollution

The City of Minneapolis’ green business cost-sharing programs to reduce air pollution and increase energy efficiency have expanded to help businesses go solar too. The City and its partners are making progress toward the City’s energy and climate change goals, but moving forward at the accelerated pace needed will require accelerated reductions in greenhouse gas pollution such as carbon dioxide caused by burning fossil fuels. The programs are a part of thAerial photo of solar panels on rooftope City’s Clean Energy Partnership with CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy, its gas and electricity utilities. The program also partners with Center for Energy and Environment, the Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Street Council to bring resources and community-based technical assistance to businesses.

2018 changes also make the most of the green business cost-sharing programs by prioritizing businesses in environmental justice areas known as Green Zones, buildings responsive to the energy benchmarking ordinance, and buildings that join the Building Energy Challenge.

Cutting pollution, saving money

These changes also help businesses save money. Since 2012, 74 businesses are saving more than $600,000 total annually while preventing more than 50,000 pounds annually of air pollutants that directly affect health and contribute to regional air pollution. The 74 businesses also removed 10.86 million pounds of the carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change by the end of 2017. This is the equivalent of taking 1,233 cars off the road or the cleanup equivalent of planting more than 127,722 trees.

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This video highlights a Minneapolis business that used the program to help install a 39.6 kilowatt solar panel system on the rooftop and now saves money on its energy costs.

Businesses can apply now for 2018 programs

People thinking about greener, cleaner business practices in 2018 can apply now. Besides the new solar option, the Green Business Cost Share Program helps businesses financially with air pollution reduction projects, energy efficiency improvements (for both commercial use and residential buildings with four or more units), cleaner auto body processes, and their own innovative concepts.

There is a clear connection between pollution from energy used, and environmental effects and health in communities. The individual chemicals targeted by the green business cost-sharing programs have a range of health effects depending on the chemical – from heart and liver diseases to cancer. Local businesses using these chemicals inadvertently release them into the neighborhoods around them, and workers often have hundreds of times more exposure than the neighbors do.

The funds for the program come from pollution control fees that businesses pay to the City.

Find more information about the City’s green business cost-sharing programs here.