Bill would aid Silicon Energy, tenKsolar

  • Article by: Pat Doyle , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2013 - 9:48 AM

An Iron Range firm seeks special consideration for selling solar panels to state transportation projects.

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thedanmanApr. 25, 1312:17 AM

The single most expensive form of electric generation available is rooftop solar. Not debatable. It's not even close to the wind towers. Remotely. And that's even with tax credits and additional tax dollars in this stupid idea. If this passes you will pay more taxes to give those who can already afford a large array of panels to put on their house property. Those folks will then pay less on their electric bill, thanks to average Joe. There is nothing now that prevents people from putting solar panels on their business or home property, but they just want some more of your money so they can pay less and pass it off as a "jobs creator" provision.

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imcountryApr. 25, 13 8:49 AM

Geronimo Energy a foreign owned company has already applied with the MN Public Utilities Commission to install 100 Megawatts of solar in the Xcel energy service area. This bill for solar will, like wind in MN will largely benefit these foreign companies. Geronimo Wind is experienced in maximizing Minnesota's generous tax loopholes for wind and it is a short jump to make the switch to include solar. Aided by one MN law firm wind in MN is exempt from all MN law. C-BED for what was intended to be Community Based and benefit Minnesotans now requires no MN owners. Will it now be abused in solar projects Too? If Geronimo is allowed to build out a 100 Megawatt project, will they use MN made solar panels? Does anyone know how much space is needed to install 100mw of solar?

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esandeenApr. 25, 13 8:58 AM

thedanman, did you read the article? "give those who can already afford a large array of panels to put on their house property" - no, this is about state properties, not private properties. That being said, I'm torn on this one. I'm ok with business loans, but the mandate does seem to go a bit far. Supporting local & state businesses is great, but when there are only two in the game, that really limits competition and may distort prices. Silicon Energy really does make great, durable panels, but that does come at a price premium, and it'll probably mean less solar in the state overall. As solar prices drop, I really do think we need declining, not accelerating, government support. And I'm saying this as a huge solar supporter, overall.

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esandeenApr. 25, 1311:33 AM

"Does anyone know how much space is needed to install 100mw of solar?" Commodity 250W panels come in at something around 12 watts per square foot. So 100MW would take about 8000000 square feet, or about 0.25 square miles.

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imcountryApr. 26, 13 9:35 AM

The Geronimo Energy proposal for 100 mw of solar energy shows 700 acres of land needed for their installation. If the solar legislation goes forward and MN sees a rush of similar proposals like Geronimo, how will this effect MN tax & ratepayers? Will there be a cap on large installations. The selling point of the solar legislation is for individuals wishing to install solar on their property to be able to be counted towards the mandate but large projects could fill the mandate first. Great River Energy has said a 4% solar mandate equals a 4 billion dollar increase to it's customers and Xcel has suggested 1 billion for them. That is an expense that will be especially felt by the poor and elderly on fixed incomes.

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