Thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, a University of Minnesota building will be outfitted with solar panels by the beginning of 2012. Putting solar panels on the University Office Plaza Building, which houses the Minnesota Daily suite, is an encouraging step toward replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.
One of the main obstacles to the wide use of renewable energy sources, including solar power, is their current prohibitive cost. Experimentation and innovation are needed to find ways to make these energy sources cheaper and more efficient. There is no better home for this innovation and experimentation than a public university like the University of Minnesota.
The University should take pride in efforts to stay on the cutting edge of renewable energy. It should expand those efforts to establish itself as a leader in the field of renewable energy and to make those energy sources more accessible and affordable to the public.
The solar panels on the University Office Plaza Building are part of the Energy Innovation Corridor in the Twin Cities that will stretch along the Central Corridor light-rail line. This shows that the Twin Cities, too, are positioning themselves as leaders in sustainable energy technology.
Pushing forward on innovative renewable energy projects at the University and in the Cities will help improve the economy and the environment. Projects like new solar panels at the University lay the groundwork for future improvements in the technology and infrastructure of renewable energy. The University, Cities and the state of Minnesota deserve credit, and we hope each keeps pressing forward on new, experimental, and innovative green energy projects.