It was good to read the article in The Globe that Nobles County is well on the way to incorporating solar into its land use ordinance. (“Proposed solar ordinance to advance to Nobles County board”, Oct 31, 2020). This forward thinking should allow Nobles County residents to take better advantage of solar and ensure that this technology that is quickly changing how we produce energy fits in with the community.
Solar is allowing for more local control of energy and making more of us energy producers as well as consumers. By producing solar energy at our home, farm or small business, we keep more of our energy dollar in the community. And now is a good time to go solar since there is a Federal Investment Tax Credit that is equal to 22% of the cost of your solar investment. The opportunity to get this credit expires in 2022. For farmers and small businesses, there is also the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that can cover up to 25% of the cost of going solar. With smart financing, these systems pay for themselves in eight to 10 years and can last for over 25 years.
Solar United Neighbors of Minnesota is a non-profit that helps people take advantage of incentives like this while getting the best price on solar. We do this through bringing people together to help them through the process of going solar and by pooling their buying power to get the best price on solar. We call these “solar co-op” and have done over 250 of them helping over 5,000 people go solar. I would invite folks in the area interested in going solar to check out the Solar United Neighbors Southwest Prairie Solar Co-op at www.solarunitedneighbors.org/prairie. Membership is free and there is no obligation.
Now is the time to start planning your solar array for 2021 and at this time next year you will be generating income and energy from your home, farm or small business.