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Minn. solar energy mandate closer to becoming law

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota House and Senate negotiators have agreed to an energy bill that includes a mandate that investor-owned utilities get 1.5 percent of the energy from solar generation.

The House version had required investor-owned utilities to provide at least 4 percent of their power through solar generation by late 2025. The Senate version was a 1 percent standard.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the conference committee working out the differences decided on a 1.5 percent solar energy standard that will take effect five years earlier. Investor-owned utilities such as Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power must meet the standard by the end of 2020.

Iron mining facilities and paper mills are exempt, as are electricity co-ops and municipal utilities.

The compromise now goes back to the House and Senate for final votes.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.