Frontiers: Unleashing Minnesota’s solar power potential

Solar energy

Solar power in Minnesota is inevitable. That was the message delivered by Fresh Energy executive director Michael Noble at the March 6 Frontiers in the Environment talk, “Unleashing Minnesota’s Solar Power Potential.” Fresh Energy is leading a campaign to bolster the state’s clean energy future.

Solar is a good idea for many reasons, said Noble. A large majority of Minnesotans favor increasing solar energy generation, according to a recent poll. Increasing the state’s solar energy output will create jobs, increase the state’s energy independence, and improve our economy, according to a statement on the Fresh Energy website. The campaign aims to establish a solar energy standard of 10 percent by 2030. Legislation was introduced at the state capitol in February that would move this goal forward, with hearings scheduled this week.

Noble acknowledged the many barriers to switching from fossil fuel-based energy to solar, comparing it to rebuilding an airplane midflight. He listed financing obstacles, the current energy industry structure and the varying business models needed to accommodate solar generation in homes, stadiums and commercial buildings as some of the barriers. Fresh Energy has identified solutions to each of these barriers, including passage of the pending legislation.

Like to learn more? You can watch Noble’s Frontiers talk here.

And join us at noon CT March 13 in St. Paul or live online for the fifth Frontiers in the Environment talk of the season – A Mangrove Lagoon in the Time of Climate Change: The Politics, Science and Culture of an Intertidal Environment in Papua New Guinea by David Lipset, a professor of anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts. Almost like a tropical vacation!

Monique Dubos is a freelance writer and photographer. She currently works at the University of Minnesota.