Utility delays stymy hundreds of solar projects — and jobs — in Minnesota

Aerial shot top view of solar panels adjacent to a farm
Aerial shot top view of solar panels adjacent to a farm
Dzmitry Palubiatka | Adobe Stock

Solar projects are booming in Minnesota, and so are delays in getting those projects connected to the power grid.

Frank Jossi, who wrote about the problem for Energy News Network, said the Xcel Energy backlog had held up more than 300 solar projects in the state as of Sept. 20. Industry leaders told him it could take years to catch up, and that doing so would create as many as 900 jobs.

“But this is a persistent problem across the country,” Jossi said. “[In the Midwest], there were 5 gigawatts of power that people decided not to build because they were waiting so long for approvals. That’s the equivalent of dozens of powerplants of clean energy.”

The Biden administration’s new infrastructure package includes $65 billion that could help the grid catch up with solar demand. In Minnesota, Jossi said lawmakers could remove geographic restrictions from the community solar program that cause projects to cluster and overwhelm operators in the metro.

Jossi shared more of his reporting on Climate Cast. Click play on the audio player above or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify to hear this week’s episode.

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.