News & Politics

Solar Power a Better Deal For Minnesota Residents Than Natural Gas, Says Court

The state could possibly see a huge expansion of green energy.

Solar power station and sunflowers.
Photo Credit: Kletr/

Solar power just got a big boost in Minnesota. A judge responsible for deciding the best energy deal for Minnesota residents has ruled that solar power should win out, the Minnesota Tribune reports.

Solar power was assessed to be cheaper than natural gas. 

The ruling says “solar is coming in a big way to the country and to Minnesota,” according to Betsy Engelking, Vice President of Geronimo Energy, which will build solar energy sites in Xcel Energy areas.  “The cost of solar has come down much faster than anyone had anticipate. his is one of the reasons solar is going to explode.”  The judge’s decision marked a first for solar energy: winning out on a competitive bid going against natural gas.

The ruling by an administrative law judge has to be upheld by the state Public Utilities Commission for the plan to go forward.  Once a final decision is reached, Xcel Energy will purchase whichever source of power wins out.  Xcel Energy supplies power in the state.

Xcel and other companies offered their own proposals, most of which focused on natural gas. Xcel said it disagreed with the ruling.  Companies can appeal to the the utilities commission before it takes a vote.

The website CleanTechnica points out that “rooftop solar in Minnesota costs 36-75% less than natural gas power plants in delivering peak energy.”

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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