Thanks to the widespread availability and affordability of solar energy, many experts believe the 2020s will be the last decade of widespread coal usage in the United States. It is no longer profitable for power companies to be using coal and other fossil fuels when they could easily obtain energy from the sun through solar farms and power purchase agreements. Yet some local companies continue to use coal even when there are cheaper and cleaner energy options available. In fact, coal is still providing about one-third of Minnesota’s total energy needs.
Expensive Coal Raises Power Bills for Consumers
The increasing expense of utilizing fossil fuels to power our state means higher power bills for residential and commercial customers. Energy analyst Joe Daniel with the Union of Concerned Scientists said, “By all the evidence I have seen, these costs are being recovered onto the backs of retail customers, people like you and me, who pay our monthly electric bill.” These power companies aren’t eating the costs of fossil fuel usage; as regulated utilities, they are passing the costs on to their customers to the tune of up to $90 million each year. More details are in this Fox 9 story.
Demanding Solar and Other Clean Energy Alternatives
So, what’s a budget and environmentally friendly consumer to do? First, put the pressure on utility companies to switch to clean energy. Xcel has made positive changes already, and those shouldn’t be ignored. It began cutting back operations at two of its coal plants in December 2019 and vowed to completely shut down all its coal plants by 2030. Minnesotans should hold the company to it. You can make your voice heard by requesting more solar programs through your utility company; some already offer rebates and incentives for solar users. As a consumer, you can also give your business to companies that have chosen to use solar energy to power their stores and operations.
Making Changes in Your Own Home
If you’re interested in creating a positive impact on your own finances, consider installing a residential solar panel system on your home. You won’t be at the energy company’s mercy when it comes to your monthly energy bills. In fact, you may be able to completely eliminate those bills through the use of solar energy. By lessening your home’s reliance on grid power, you’re sending a message to local power companies that they don’t have a monopoly on energy.
If you’re not ready to purchase a solar array for your home, look into your power company’s clean energy options. Many offer a community solar program that gives consumers the opportunity to subscribe directly to a nearby, third-party owned community solar garden. Once subscribed, you will receive bill credits equivalent to the energy your community solar garden share provides to the grid.
For assistance with switching your home or business over to solar energy, contact Cedar Creek Energy. Our team of solar engineers, project managers, and installers will walk your family through the entire process, from conducting an initial energy audit through the first time you power up your new solar array. We can be reached at (763) 432-5261.