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S.F. No. 1424 - Solar Energy Grants for School Districts (As Amended by the Delete-All Amendment)
Author: Senator D. Scott Dibble
Prepared By: Carlon D. Fontaine, Senate Counsel (651/296-4395)
Date: March 1, 2019


Section 1.  [Solar energy grants for school districts] establishes a program to award grants to school districts that install solar energy systems on school buildings to generate electricity.

Subdivision 1.  Definitions.  Defines a “school district” as an independent or special school district. Defines “solar energy system” as a photovoltaic device that may be combined with a solar thermal or energy storage system.

Subd. 2.  Establishment.  Establishes a grant program in the Department of Commerce to award grants to school districts that install solar energy systems.

Subd. 3.  Reserve accounts created; use of funds in reserve accounts.  Creates two reserve accounts within the renewable development account. Allows money in the reserve accounts to be used for grants to school districts and for reasonable costs for the commissioner of commerce to administer the grant program. Provides that money held in the reserve accounts does not lapse.

Subd. 4.  Eligible expenditures.  Provides that grants may pay up to 95 percent of the purchase and installation costs of a solar energy system.  Requires solar system capacity to be less than 300kW and match the building’s electric load.  Requires a solar energy system to be placed on, adjacent to, or in proximity to the school district building.  Prohibits a school district that receives a rebate from Xcel’s Solar Rewards program or from another utility from receiving a grant for the same solar energy system.

Subd. 5.  Application process.  Requires grant applications to be submitted by a school district to the commissioner of the Department of Commerce, who must develop administrative procedures to govern the grant award process.  Requires the grants to be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Subd. 6.  Geographical distribution of grants.  Requires the commissioner to endeavor to award grants to school districts throughout the state within the applicable electric service territories.

Subd. 7.  Other funds.  Allows a school district to issue debt under section 123B.62 to pay its share of the costs of the project.

Section 2.  [Appropriation] paragraph (a) appropriates $3,000,000 from the renewable development account in fiscal year 2020 for deposit in reserve account 1 for grants to school districts within Xcel service territory.

Paragraph (b) appropriates an unspecified amount from the general fund in fiscal year 2020 for deposit in reserve account 2 for grants to school districts outside of Xcel service territory.


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