The Minnesota State Legislature is considering a bold move to assist Minnesota’s fledgling solar industry. A new provision in the House transportation omnibus bill requires that any solar array installed on a building, highway, road, bridge, or land owned or controlled by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, must consist entirely of panels manufactured in Minnesota.  After passing out of the House, the transportation omnibus bill will meet its Senate counterpart in a conference committee.

This development comes a short time after the Minnesota Senate added a provision to the energy omnibus bill that would create a solar energy standard alongside the existing renewable energy technology standard and a few years after the state legislature enacted the Minnesota Bonus Program.  The new solar energy standard would require that utilities generate or procure an increasing amount of solar electric generation capacity at a minimum percentage (not yet specified) by 2016, 2020, and 2025.  The Minnesota Bonus program provides Minnesota residents a financial incentive to install solar panels on their homes and businesses by requiring utilities to subsidize the solar power generated by the solar installations.

Under state law, the Minnesota State Legislature must finish its work by Monday, May 20th.