solar energy

Lisa Johnson

Jessica Looman is feeling pretty good about the state of solar energy in Minnesota.

What's got the state commerce commissioner "walking on sunshine"?

Minnesota's solar capacity between 2015 and 2016 grew almost three times - to put that in perspective, the 476 megawatts added in 2017 is enough electricity to power 53,000 more homes.

Add to that declining prices, increased consumer demand and 57,000 clean energy jobs in the state, Minnesotans may be inclined to quote Timbuk 3 from back in the day: "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades".

Our Sustainability Week series continues on Northland Morning as we speak with Bret Pence, the Arrowhead Network Regional Coordinator for Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light.  Solar energy and the use of "smart" storage batteries home is a reality that not only can serve as a backup for outages but also can provide an ongoing renewable power source that integrates with the existing power grid to reduce dependency on power from fossil fuel sources.  

© Minnesota Power

Our guest today is Paul Helstrom, the Renewable Program Lead at MN Power, whose job is to create a more user friendly renewable energy program for MN Power and our community.  He joins us to share more about their community solar program.

Duluth has the same potential to generate solar energy as Jacksonville, Florida.  Or Houston, Texas.

Don't believe it?  Ask Bret Pence of Ecolibrium 3 ... or better yet, check out Duluth Shines!

Duluth Shines! is a solar map application that lets you see what kind of solar energy you could generate from your home or business.

Geospatial Analysis Center, UMD

How do you make the most of your potential?

One word: software.

What if you could click the mouse a time or two and find out if you had anything to gain at your house from solar energy?