Commentary: Removing co-op oversight jeopardizes rural solar

A plan floated by Minnesota lawmakers to exempt rural electric cooperatives from virtually all regulatory oversight would allow these utilities to restrict development of local solar power, even where their member-owners support renewable energy. Legislation introduced last month and working its way through the state’s House (HF234) and Senate (SF141) would put co-op boards themselves, rather than the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), in charge of resolving customer disputes over rates and other policies. Disguised as “local control,” the measure undermines the objective role of the Commission as a mediator between cooperatives and their members. Co-ops provide electricity across greater Minnesota, and have in recent years come under fire as sharp opponents of distributed solar generation. Customer have complained about outsize fees for having rooftop solar – sometimes masked as other charges, like for a new meter.

Commentary: Clean energy still trumps partisan politics

This morning, the sun rose all across the United States of America, as it has every day since Election Day. We are no doubt a changed nation. The coming days and weeks will begin to show the depths and direction of that change. But today, the sun is generating power – clean, cost-effective power, thanks to solar PV projects on rooftops and fields in communities across America. The economics of solar and energy efficiency remain as strong today as they did before Election Day.