Solar PV Could Save Minnesota Schools Millions

Shimmering Sunset


Could Solar Save Minnesota Schools Millions?

Fri, February 18, 2011

Currently, Minnesota’s public schools spend approximately $84 million per year on electricity costs, money diverted from the classroom.  But a bill to make clean, local energy accessible now (CLEAN) could help the state’s public schools use solar to zero out their electricity bills and add $193 million per year to their operating budgets.

The proposed bill would create a CLEAN Contract for public entities in Minnesota, requiring local utilities to buy electricity from solar PV systems on public property on a long-term contract and at a price sufficient to offer a small return on investment.  The program mimics the traditional model for utility power development, where the public utilities commission rewards utilities a fixed rate of return on investments in new power generation.  If schools maximize their participation in the new program, and cover their available roof space with solar PV, the 750 megawatts of power would provide $193 million per year for school budgets, create hundreds of local jobs, and make the schools electricity self-reliant.

The cost of the program would be negligible: adding less than two-tenths of a cent per kilowatt-hour to customer bills.

Minnesota’s CLEAN Contract proposal is one of several programs spreading across North America, from Ontario to Vermont to Gainesville, Florida, and one that has ushered in thousands of megawatts of solar across Europe.  In Ontario, the full-scale program has contracted over 2,700 megawatts of renewable energy and is responsible for 43,000 new jobs.  Minnesota’s program is restricted to solar PV on public property, but as this analysis shows, it could still have a significant impact on school budgets without a significant impact on ratepayers.   Minnesota Schools Electricity Budget

We at DragonFly Solar have developed complete assessment tools for schools. We recently finished an assessment for a large metropolitan school district. If your school – district is interested in doing this right…please contact us via email at

Much of the information above came from an article written by John Farrell for To Read the full article: Solar Could Save Minnesota Schools Millions

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