SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Commerce is on track to deliver the first round of Solar for Schools grants. Schools in 45 school districts, most of which are located in Greater Minnesota, have been invited to submit full applications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce to review and approve. The agency will award about $7.5 million in grants to up to 80 schools.
“I’m thrilled that there was so much interest in the first round of Solar for Schools grants,” said Rep. Patty Acomb (DFL – Minnetonka), the author of the bill that established the Solar for Schools Program. “This program will help school districts reduce energy costs while creating good-paying jobs and valuable learning opportunities for students. I can’t wait to see solar panels on school rooftops and grounds across Minnesota.”
The Minnesota Legislature passed legislation that established the Solar for Schools Program in 2021. The bill delivered $16 million to help schools install solar energy systems, with half of the funding dedicated to schools outside of Xcel Energy territory. Eligible schools will receive up to $114,000 to purchase and install solar energy systems on their rooftops or grounds, with the grant covering 25 to 95 percent of the costs.
Xcel Energy is administering SolarRewards for Schools, the portion of the program that will serve schools located in Xcel Energy territory. More information about these grants will be released soon. In the meantime, inquiries should be directed to SolarProgramMN@xcelenergy.com.
In addition to helping the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Solar for Schools will help school districts reduce energy costs, which are often their second largest expense. This will allow districts to devote more funds to services and support for students. The program will also provide hands-on learning opportunities to more than 160,000 students and create good-paying jobs in communities across Minnesota.