Sen. Tina Smith touts clean energy during southern Minnesota visit
KASOTA, Minn. (KEYC) - On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) visited the greater Mankato area to tour the Kasota Prairie Community Solar Garden.
“This is power that is reducing carbon emissions, and it’s going to be more affordable,” Smith said.
While Smith toured the 8-acre garden, which uses 4,000 solar panels, she spoke with local leaders in clean energy about the local economic impacts for Minnesota under the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill she pushed to pass earlier this summer.
“It’s really exciting to see what this looks like, and I am delighted to think about how the legislation that we passed, that is now signed into law, will make projects like this more affordable, and we’ll be able to expand more of them,” Smith commented.
“The Inflation Reduction Act really is a transformational piece of legislation that will help the community solar industry really get on its feet,” added Eric Pasi, chief development officer at IPS Solar.
The Kasota solar garden serves about 200 to 300 homes through Xcel Energy.
Smith says the Inflation Reduction Act provides security for clean energy installation and maintenance, and jumpstarts more projects like solar panel gardens throughout the nation.
“That helps us to interconnect the projects. They help us to get the power to communities that really need it, and to homeowners and residents that aren’t able to install solar on their own,” Pasi explained.
Minnesota currently has 58,000 clean energy jobs, and solar energy jobs grew by 10% just in the last year.
Smith says the Inflation Reduction Act will help put those jobs into high gear.
“Where are we going to find those people? So that’s why we’re kind of looking into workforce development programs and community colleges that are training solar programs, absolutely going to need more funding and attention,” stated Amelia Hennes, director of communications and public affairs at Clean Energy Economy Minnesota.
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