News Release | Project North Star grant to advance Minnesota’s solar energy progress

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Minnesota Department of Commerce News Release Header

October 20, 2016

Project North Star grant to advance Minnesota’s solar energy progress

Minnesota Commerce Department and partners secure U.S. Department of Energy SunShot grant to help achieve energy goal of 10% solar by 2030

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Commerce has been awarded a $2 million grant that will help realize Minnesota’s goal of generating 10 percent of its electricity from the sun by 2030.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, is called “Project North Star: Illuminating the Way to PV Integration.” It will combine a stakeholder collaboration process with technical analysis to support Minnesota’s deployment of solar electricity, also known as photovoltaics (PV).

“Diversifying Minnesota’s energy portfolio with additional solar electricity will create new economic opportunities for people across our state, while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels that hurt our health and environment,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I thank the U.S. Department of Energy for providing the grant, and look forward to working with our Minnesota-based partners to implement it.”

The state goal of 10 percent solar by 2030 will take Minnesota from 35 megawatts of solar capacity at the end of 2015 to as much as 6 gigawatts by 2030. (One gigawatt equals 1,000 megawatts.)

“This important grant will strengthen Minnesota’s efforts to continue moving forward to a clean energy future,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, whose agency serves as the state energy office. “Project North Star is an opportunity for the Commerce Department to work together with our many partners and stakeholders to make Minnesota a leading state for solar innovation and deployment.”

Led by the Commerce Department, Project North Star includes four core partners: Center for Energy and Environment, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), Clean Power Research and Great Plains Institute. It also involves a host of supporting partners, including utilities, local governments and solar industry representatives.

The project will engage in a wide range of activities with these stakeholders to identify and demonstrate least-cost, best-value strategies for Minnesota to achieve its solar energy goals. This includes the potential of key technologies and management approaches to overcome grid integration challenges with increased solar. 

About the SunShot Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 |