fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

State Doles Out Even More Money For Solar Power

The State of Minnesota has gifted more taxpayer dollars to the solar industry. This time the subsidies take the form of a $3.5 million state loan package that was used to restart the production of solar panels at a Mountain Iron manufacturing facility.

The plant was previously occupied by the solar company Silicon Energy- that is, before it went bankrupt after the first round of solar subsidies, dubbed “Made in Minnesota,” expired in 2017. In fact, nearly all of the companies who participated in the program have closed their facilities in the state or gone out of business. That’s a telltale sign that the industry simply can’t stand on its own merit.

Upon closer examination, the company’s growth is dependent upon more government policies that mandate the use of solar power, not free markets. According to the Star Tribune:

[The company] will prioritize commercial clients buying rooftop and ground-mount solar panels, with less emphasis on the residential rooftop market, he added.

Another successful sector for Heliene has been community solar gardens, which constitute half of the company’s sales, he said. Minnesota’s growing community solar garden program, the largest in the country, has been a boon for the company, and Illinois may represent the next big market for Heliene, he said.

“Our business is based on volume,” Pochtaruk said. “It’s easier to sell 1,000 panels to one customer than 1,000 panels to many customers.”

The factory’s growth would not have occurred without support from governmental agencies in Minnesota, he conceded. Without the state money, “for sure it would not (been located) on the Iron Range,” he said.

Minnesota’s community solar gardens come at enormous cost. Xcel Energy senior director of customer solutions Lee Gabler stated community solar gardens are twice as expensive as utility-scale operations:

“Community solar gardens aren’t cheap for Xcel, Gabler said. Solar energy from the gardens costs the company 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, almost twice as expensive as utility-scale electricity.”

These gardens are only being built to satisfy the state’s solar electricity mandate, which requires 1.5 percent of electricity sales in the state come from solar power regardless of how much it costs. Does that sound like a free market policy to you?

The Iron Range needs businesses that are truly sustainable, not businesses that are only kept afloat by government handouts.

So why is the state doubling down on a failed industry?

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • Morning in Minnesota Breakfast Series Featuring Isaac Orr

    Location: The Oaks at Eagle Creek 1000 26th Ave NE Willmar, MN 56201

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Tuesday, August 27th at The Oaks at Eagle Creek for breakfast with Center policy fellow and energy expert, Isaac Orr. Following his discussion of his new report, Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion, Isaac will be joined by Rep. Tim Miller, Rep. Dave Baker, and Sen. Andrew Lang for a conversation about renewable energy standards in Minnesota. Tuesday, August 27, 2019 The Oaks at Eagle Creek 1000 26th Ave NE, Willmar, MN 56201 7:30 AM Breakfast & Check-In 8:00 AM Presentation…

  • Fall Briefing Featuring Kimberley Strassel

    Location: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts 345 Washington Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now