In Chisago County, currently Minnesota’s leading county in the amount of installed solar, the benefits of solar energy are clear. “When solar power is produced they actually pay a solar production credit, that becomes a essentially like a tax benefit to the county, city, school district and also to our townships,” says Bruce Messelt, Chisago County Administrator.
“We can think about this as almost the next big crop. In Chisago County, we’ve really benefited from that. In our case, we’re looking at probably about $250,000 a year in property tax relief that comes to us because of our solar activity,” says Messelt.
Tax revenue isn’t the only financial benefit of solar energy. At the Chisago Lakes School District, nearly 1,000 panels are located on the roofs of the district’s five schools. Over the next 30 years, IPS Solar predicts the power from those panels, along with power the district is purchasing from panels in other parts of the county, will save the district $3 million in electricity costs. That’s $100,000 that the school district will save each year.
“It’s really almost like having a commercial business,” says Messelt.