ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — More people have signed up for Minnesota's solar energy incentive program than it can support, according to a state official.
"It's a phenomenal success," state Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman told those gathered Friday at the Solar Powering Minnesota conference in St. Paul. "It just shows the increasing demand and sort of what's at the ready."
Applications to the Made in Minnesota incentive program received in January and February will be selected by lottery, according to Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1k3Dkbp ).
The program helps homeowners and businesses install solar energy systems manufactured in the state. The Legislature set up the program last year and established a $15 million annual budget for the next 10 years, funded by Minnesota's utilities.
The solar incentive program is part of a new law that also requires large utilities to produce 1.5 percent of their electricity using solar by 2020. The state's overall goal is 10 percent by 2030.
Minnesota is in a good position to reach those goals, said Minh Le, director of the U.S. Department of Energy's solar technologies office.
"When I look out the window today it's overcast, but I'm often reminded that even though this is the northernmost state in the continental United States, you boast more sunlight than the country of Germany," he said. "Germany has installed more solar in the past decade than any other country in the world."
Despite strong policies and dropping prices for the technology, Le says it will still be a challenge to integrate solar into an aging grid.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org