Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)
Hartley Nature Center in Duluth has been making most of its own electricity for ten years now via solar panels.
The system has been virtually trouble free for a decade.
"It's pretty much hands off. For us here, the system runs itself." said Brett Amundson of Hartley Nature Center.
Several other public buildings in Duluth are on the solar bandwagon as well.
"It's surprising if you look around town, the Duluth Public Library has solar panels on the roof. Saint Louis County has been a real leader; their parking garage." said environmentalist Andrew Slade.
There are also a few private homes in the Northland that are off the power grid or are feeding homemade electricity into said grid.
A group called Minnesota 20/20 wants more of that.
Their spokesman, Matt Entenza, states only two percent of our power is solar.
"Entenza says if more people start putting solar panels up in their backyards, we could drastically raise the amount of solar energy feeding Minnesota's power needs." said Dave Anderson near one of Hartley's solar panels.
"We would like to see over ten percent solar in the next ten years and we can do that because Minnesota is a great solar resource." said Matt Entenza of MN 20/20.
Entenza tells us that Minnesota gets as much annual sunshine as Rome, Italy.
But, the state has laws prohibitive to financing solar systems to private homes and others that restrict how much surplus electricity that can be sold back to the power companies.
Entenza feels people need to contact their legislators so we can further tap into nature's purest energy source.
"Other states have done this. We should make it happen here because a solar future keeps more jobs and money here in Minnesota and it'll help our future and have a better environment." said Entenza.
In Duluth, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.
Minnesota 20/20 is a nonpartisan, progressive think tank that focuses on the issues like education, health care, transportation and economic development as well as environmental issues.
They are based in the Twin Cities.