In 2013, the Region Five Development Commission applied for a grant from Xcel Energy to help fund solar photovoltaic installations on schools within its five-county territory in northern Minnesota. The intent was to help the schools around the Brainerd-region save money on their electric bills, perform job training for a local Native American tribal college, and create STEM curriculums for the host schools. Xcel Energy offered the opportunity to Region Five enter into a grant agreement in December 2015, after two years of waiting. From the onset of the project, Region Five faced numerous challenges with project ownership, financing, and interconnection rules, along with capacity building and partner education. This paper takes a look at how Region Five and its partners responded to these challenges, and what policy and project opportunities they found could better promote similar projects in the state of Minnesota.
Prepared in partnership with The Region Five Commission by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), which is administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
Grimley, Matthew; Giavarini, Christopher.
The Solar Coaster: Putting Solar on Schools in Northern Minnesota Means More Than Energy.
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