The collaborative Solar Possible program has earned both national and state recognitions for its unique cohort model that helps government entities overcome barriers to solar adoption.
The US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technology Office gave the program an honorable mention in the Innovations in Solarize: Group Purchasing Campaigns category. Part of the Solar in Your Community Challenge, the competition is designed to incentivize the development of approaches to increase the affordability of electricity while expanding solar adoption.
Additionally, the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Bush Foundation recognized Solar Possible with its State Government Innovation Award which highlights great work across the state and encourages an environment of experimentation and innovation.
Solar Possible is a collaboration between the State of Minnesota’s Office of Enterprise Sustainability, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), and Great Plains Institute. The announcement to award recipients reads, in part, “Your office’s work exhibited the innovation and engagement in service redesign that is so vital to the state of Minnesota. It is undoubtedly worth further recognition.”
Jordan Wente from the Office of Enterprise Sustainability (OES) commented, “We are pleased that the State’s commitment to helping state and local agencies reduce their carbon footprint and operating costs is being recognized with a State Government Innovation Award. The on-site solar master contract is one example of how the Office of Enterprise Sustainability leverages the expertise throughout state government to make public operations more environmentally and economically sustainable.”
Solar Possible offers state agencies, local governments, and schools in Xcel Energy’s Minnesota territory the opportunity to procure solar through a joint process. Working together on solar purchasing can reduce administrative costs, enable timely action, and reduce the purchase price of solar technology through bulk pricing.
“Collective action can help to reduce barriers to implementing clean energy solutions that benefit all communities, ” said Jenna Greene, communities program assistant at the Great Plains Institute. “We’re so pleased to receive this award and look forward to continuing our work to help communities accelerate renewable energy adoption.”
In the last year, Solar Possible has worked with the State of Minnesota, cities, school districts, and other government agencies to bulk buy a total of four megawatts of solar. The initiative offers education on solar technologies, contracts, financing options, and can be a real time-saver the government entities as well as the solar providers.
“Whether it be to achieve environmental goals, reduce energy costs, or show community leadership, solar can provide measurable benefits for state and local governments,” says Peter Lindstrom, Manager of Public Sector & Community Engagement with CERTs. “Purchasing solar doesn’t have to be overwhelming or difficult. Solar Possible proves this and we hope this can serve as a model for other entities who are looking to go solar.”
Funding for Solar Possible was made possible by a McKnight Foundation grant.
The ten State Government Innovation Award winners will be recognized at a formal ceremony on August 8.