Rep. Long’s $15M solar proposal approved

Jaime Long
Jaime Long. Submitted

A $15 million appropriation to an Xcel Energy solar-incentive program that was approved during the final days of the 2020 Legislative session came from a Southwest Minneapolis state Rep. Jamie Long (DFL-61B).

Long proposed increasing funding for the Solar Rewards program, which reimburses Xcel customers for energy produced by their solar systems.

The money will come from Xcel’s renewable energy-development account, which the utility pays into in exchange for storing nuclear waste at two nuclear power plants. The Legislature decides how to spend the funds.

David Shaffer, executive director of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, said funding Solar Rewards is a “great win” for solar in the state and could help Xcel meet renewable-energy targets.

He said rebates typically amount to about 25% of the cost of the solar array and added that it was a “delight” working with Long on the proposal.

Long, who was first elected to the state House in 2018, is an assistant minority leader and vice chair of the chamber’s Energy and Climate Finance and Policy committee.