Earlier this year the legislature allocated $16 million for a new grant program that will allocate funds to schools for solar arrays. The funds are split evenly between Xcel Energy territory and non-Xcel territory. Xcel Energy has submitted a proposal to the Department of Commerce on how to structure the grant program in their territory. The Department of Commerce is crafting how the grant should work in non-Xcel territory and they’re seeking public input to help ensure the grant’s success.
The Department of Commerce will be conducting engagement sessions to inform stakeholders as to program structure and requirements, the application process, and to provide technical assistance. The first session will be informational, Commerce staff will describe how it plans on conducting the program based on statute language, timelines, RFP process, etc. The department will then conduct two listening session to hear feedback from stakeholders. The first session will be for developers, installers, and utilities. The second session will be for school staff and other interested parties. Staff will then take the input from those listening sessions and make any adjustments to the program that are reasonable,
prudent, and comply with statute language. The Department of Commerce will then post the program and allow for additional written comments before issuing the final program details.
- November 18, 10:00am-12:00pm: Initial session open to all. Staff will explain the draft grant design and resources the state will provide. View the slide deck.
- November 30, 1:00–3:00pm: Stakeholder planning session to get feedback from developers, installers, and utilities to provide feedback about the proposed process. REGISTER NOW.
- December 1, 9:00–11:00am: Stakeholder planning session for schools and interested parties to solicit feedback about the process. REGISTER NOW.
- Extended to December 7: Written comments due. Submit comments to SolarForSchools.Commerce@state.mn.us.
- All feedback must be submitted in writing.
- December 14: 1:00–3:00pm: Final session with any adjustments staff made following the stakeholder engagement session. REGISTER NOW.
- December 31: Final program documents posted.
Statute language requires two requests for proposals (RFPs) per year. After the first RFP is completed, staff will host additional stakeholder engagement to address any concerns and make adjustments as deemed necessary before the second RFP.
Proposed RFP Timeline:
RFP Round 1
- School Readiness Application Period: January 5–31, 2022
- Notifications to proceed with a full application: February 28
- Full applications due — funds awarded as received: May 31
RFP Round 2
- School Readiness Application Period: July 1–31, 2022