Last week, the now Republican-heavy Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill to cut the Made in Minnesota (MiM) initiative – 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.
Sounds cool to us, but the argument from the opposition that passed the bill was it was too much money for the state to dedicate to a program for the amount of jobs it created. What’s not cool? This move breaks a 20-year commitment between the State and Xcel Energy to provide alternative energy sources and leaves businesses that set up shop (and long-term business plans) based on the promise of this initiative in the lurch.
According to the Solar Foundation, MiM created 495 jobs since 2013, with an additional 1,485 new jobs expected by 2023. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reports that over 100 small businesses in Minnesota are involved in solar manufacturing, sales, distribution and installation.
The Minnesota House also passed a bill Thursday to give Xcel Energy a head start on building a new natural gas power plant.
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