Midwestern leaders are embracing solar, growing the industry

Midwestern communities embracing solarSolar isn’t just a growing industry in California anymore.

While it seems like so many of the country’s headlines come from the coasts, especially when it comes to solar and other types of renewable energy, the Midwest isn’t going to be left behind for long.

The Indianapolis International Airport announced at the end of April that it planned to double down and install a second 10-megawatt solar array. The Minnesota legislature just approved a renewable energy portfolio standard with a carve-out for solar. And the City of Columbus, Ohio is currently installing the largest rooftop solar array in the area.

General Energy Solutions, a Taiwan solar company working throughout the United States has made the Midwest an area of concentration.

The company has nearly as much solar development in the pipeline in the Midwest as it has in solar-hungry California, where renewable energy companies have flocked in the 21st Century the way gold miners did at the start of the 20th Century.

GES said in a release this week that it’s committed to remaining active in the Midwest and has nearly 30 megawatts of solar currently under development in the region.

Among those projects is 12.5 megawatts at the Indianapolis airport and a rooftop array at the City of Columbus’ Fleet Management Division Building that will produce enough electricity to power 85 homes.

“Continuing to developing solar projects in Ohio and the Midwest is a critical component of GES’ investment strategy,” said David Su, CEO of GES.

And that growth in the Midwest depends on progressive renewable energy policies that make growth in the region not only possible, but a good business investment both for the cities and companies investing in solar and for the developers who are establishing businesses in the Midwest.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman started the Get Green Columbus Initiative in 2005 and has constantly promoted investment conservation and renewable energy efforts ever since, according to a release from GES.

While many of the state governments in the Midwest haven’t stood behind green development the way they have in the West and East, local governments are supportive. Indianapolis Power and Light worked closely with the City and airport administration to make the airport solar projects come together and even created a feed-in-tariff for solar.

“It’s important to get buy-in from those government leaders,” IPL spokeswoman Brandi Davis-Handy told CleanEnergyAuthority in March. “The leaders in Indianapolis have really encouraged the development and use of renewable energy.”

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