Minnesota needs more solar power

Keelia Moeller

Minneapolis has made leaps and bounds in regard to renewable energy in the past few years, ranging from Xcel Energy’s hydroelectric plant to the Climate Change Grants awarded to companies wishing to advance in energy efficiency.

There are, however, ways Minneapolis can continue advancing in the area of renewable energy, such as developing further solar energy capacities. In fact, Itek Energy is planning on doing just that by opening a solar panel manufacturing plant in south Minneapolis by 2015.

Many states, including Minnesota, have enacted solar incentives as a means of boosting solar sales and surpassing competitors.

In Minnesota, one such solar incentive is coined “Made in Minnesota,” and it’s funded by none other than Xcel Energy.

Because this incentive allows for up to $2,500 in rebates for residential systems and even more commercial products, Itek Energy hopes to qualify for it.

As of today, there are only two other solar panel companies in Minnesota — Silicon Energy and TenKsolar. Silicon Energy is working toward a lower-cost model that would be more affordable for small-scale projects, whereas TenKsolar focuses more on larger projects.

Competition among more solar panel manufacturers may lead to a lower overall price for solar energy. In fact, competition among solar companies will result in a 20 percent decrease in federal solar tax credit by 2016. We should welcome a new solar manufacturer into Minneapolis with open arms because solar panels become a more realistic option for consumers as prices drop.

Advancements in renewable energy are steps in the right direction, and we ought to encourage any companies aspiring to improve energy efficiency to bring their business to the Twin Cities.