Solar shines in the Twin Cities - Bring Me The News

Solar shines in the Twin Cities

Falling installation costs and federal stimulus grants are spurring homeowners, businesses and schools to install solar systems.
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Falling installation costs and federal stimulus grants are spurring homeowners, businesses and schools to install solar systems.

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New law aims to bring solar energy to public buildings

A new $500 million bonding bill now signed into law includes an option for public buildings to take advantage of solar energy. Advocates say it will help state schools, hospitals, police stations, and other public buildings to install solar energy this year and into the future.

U.S. Bancorp, SolarCity to fund $250 million in solar projects

Minnesota-based U.S. Bancorp, parent company of U.S. Bank, and California-based SolarCity announced Wednesday their sixth and largest renewable energy tax equity fund since the two companies partnered three years ago. It will finance up to $250 million in residential solar power and commercial solar power projects for homeowners, businesses, schools, and government buildings.

Ikea plugs in largest solar power project in Minn.

The Swedish retail chain has finished installing the solar panels on top of its Bloomington store, the Star Tribune reports. Ikea says the array of 4,300 solar panels will produce roughly 1.2 million kilowatt hours worth of electricity a year, the equivalent of powering more than 100 homes yearly.

3M expands solar-film plant

3M is expanding its sustainable energy footprint with its new photovoltaic film manufacturing plant in Missouri. The Maplewood-based conglomerate says the film cuts manufacturing time and replaces the need for the heavy glass used in rooftop solar modules. The Star Tribune also reports the project will lower costs for U.S.-based makers of solar panels.

Minnesota group offers unbiased info for those considering solar

Many solar installers offer cheap or free assessments to potential customers, but they have an incentive to recommend their products. Now you can have an independent assessor evaluate your property's potential for solar energy. Advocates say it will help customers get unbiased info while guarding the industry's reputation from a few bad sellers.

Minnesota to join in shining spotlight on autism

Governor Mark Dayton will join a crowd of Minnesotans for a Capitol rally on World Autism Day. The event will also offer parents of autistic children resources on therapy, insurance, housing, and employment. Federal officials now say one child in 88 has an autism-related illness.