Three Minnesota schools recently celebrated a big step into clean energy. New solar arrays are live at Dakota Middle School and Longfellow Elementary School in Rochester, plus the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley. These schools are among the first to install their arrays under the Minnesota Solar for Schools Grant Program.
In 2021 the state’s legislature allocated $16 million for the Solar for Schools program. The goal is to get more Minnesota schools to adopt solar energy systems, while also taking the opportunity to teach students about renewable energy. The program is run by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources, and supported by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs.)
“I would say that ink was barely dry on the legislation before our phones were ringing,” says Peter Lindstom. Lindstrom is the CERTs Manager of Public Sector & Community Engagement. He has been working with the Department of Commerce to spearhead outreach and education around the program since before it launched.
“Right away, our inboxes were filled with messages from schools that were really interested in tapping into these funds,” he says. “So it's been a very popular grant program, right from the get go.”