Minnesota residents will have to purchase 1.5 percent of their electricity from expensive solar power under legislation signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The Minnesota House and Senate passed the legislation, which applies to investor-owned utilities, after ironing out differences in competing bills.
The House version of the bill required investor-owned utilities to provide at least 4 percent of their power through solar generation, while the Senate bill mandated 1 percent.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the levelized costs for generating electricity from solar power will be more than double the costs for generating electricity from natural gas for at least the next several decades. For every increment of solar power added to the Minnesota electricity mix, customers will see that portion of their electric bill more than double.
“Solar power is neither economical, reliable, nor environmentally friendly,” said Jay Lehr, science director for the Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News. “This new law will raise the cost of living in Minnesota while ensuring unnecessary land development and new pressures on water resources. Solar thermal power involves tremendous amounts of water usage.”