Urge School Leaders to Put Solar on Schools

The Minnesota state omnibus commerce and energy bill, which was signed into law by the governor in 2021, made $7.5 million in Minnesota state funding available in 2022 for solar installations on schools outside of Xcel Territory —that includes Duluth! The Solar for Schools program grants up to 95% of the installation cost for solar energy systems on Minnesota public schools. 

There are many benefits to putting solar on schools:

  • Educational: Schools can enhance their curricula with solar-focused, hands-on activities covering everything from electricity basics, renewable energy installation considerations, and renewable energy careers.
  • Environmental: Putting solar on schools can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions—estimated to be equivalent to 221,000 cars statewide.
  • Community Leadership: Schools can demonstrate leadership and help inspire children and the community to move towards a more sustainable future.

In the first year of the program, 63 Minnesota schools were awarded grant funds to install solar! However, the Duluth Public School District ISD 709 did not act on this opportunity and the deadlines for 2022 and 2023 have passed. The school district should not pass up this opportunity and work to actively pursue funding for the next round of Solar to Schools which reopens in January of 2024. In that past, schools have received up to $114,000 to put towards purchasing and installing up to 40 kW of solar systems. 

The district can also look into other chances for solar savings for schools in the Inflation Reduction Act, the federal bill passed in 2022 that provides landmark opportunities for public and private entities to get tax credits and discounts on energy efficient technology that will help mitigate climate change. 


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