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Minnesota

An arrow graphic shows that Minnesota's renewable portfolio standard increases from 17% in 2012, to 31.5% in 2020.

Carve-out: 1.5% PV (Xcel Energy and other Investor Owned Utilities [IOUs]); 10% PV by 2030 (statewide goal)
Tracking system: Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS), Michigan Renewable Energy Certification System (MIRECS)

Minnesota's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) has additional requirements of 31.5% by 2020 for Xcel Energy; 26.5% by 2025 for investor-owned utilities (IOUs); and 25% by 2025 for other utilities. Minnesota offers net metering for systems up to 1 MW, which enables midscale systems to capitalize excess generation. Minnesota recently passed community solar enabling legislation. Midmarket agricultural and non-profit customers may be eligible for state incentives. Several Minnesota utilities offer solar rebates, mostly limited to smaller systems.

Net Metering

IOUs are prohibited from imposing standby charges on net-metered systems of less than 100 kW. Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are explicitly allowed to charge an additional fee to recover fixed costs.

System size limit: 1 MW (40 kW for municipal utilities and electric cooperatives).

Aggregate cap: No limit

Credit: Average retail utility energy rate for <40 kW; avoided cost rate (customer may elect to a kilowatt-hour credit) for >40 kW; utilities are permitted to use a Value of Solar Tariff in lieu of net metering; no utilities have elected to do so as of August 2016.

RECs: Customers retain ownership of renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Meter aggregation: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) requires IOUs to offer meter aggregation. Aggregated meters must be located on contiguous property owned by the same customer. The sum of aggregated meters may not exceed net-metering system size limitations.

Interconnection

MPUC developed basic standards for utility tariffs for interconnection and the operation of distributed generation facilities up to 10 MW. Interconnection rules and procedures vary by utilities.

System size limit: 1 MW

Liability insurance: Varies by system size and type

External disconnect switch: Required

Third Party Ownership

The status of third party ownership in Minnesota is unclear.

Community Solar

The Minnesota Solar Energy Jobs Act requires Xcel Energy to purchase output from community solar gardens no larger than 1 MW per site. Xcel Energy responded to the legislation by launching the Solar Rewards Community program. Community solar gardens in the Solar Rewards program must have at least 5 subscribers and no single subscriber may own more than 40% of the garden. The Act requires compensation at a value of solar tariff, however compensation will default to the retail rate until the PUC approves a value of solar tariff.

State Incentive Programs

Program Administrator Incentive
Made in Minnesota Solar Energy Production Incentive program Department of Commerce Incentives are reserved for projects utilizing modules manufactured in Minnesota. The Commissioner of Commerce determines incentive amounts annually by customer class and module, in 2016 amounts ranged from $0.13 to $0.23/kWh for for-profit commercial projects. The program is only available in the service territories of participating IOUs.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing Local authorities PACE allows property owners to repay loans for PV projects through a special assessment on the property over a specified loan term. Minnesota has authorized local governments to establish PACE programs.
Sustainable Agriculture Loan Program Minnesota Department of Agriculture Farmers are eligible for 3% interest loans of up to $40,000 for PV projects that support on-farm energy production.
Zero-Interest Loans Office of Energy Security Non-profits may be eligible for 0% interest loans of up to $25,000.
Solar Energy Sales Tax Exemption Department of Revenue Solar PV systems are exempt from state sales taxes.

Utility Incentive Programs

Utility Incentive Limitations
Minnesota Power $1.00/W; $1.50/W rebate for non-profits Capped at $20,000 or 60% of system cost.
Xcel Energy Solar Rewards for Businesses net metering program 6 MW of capacity each quarter for the Medium Program, system size must be between 25.01 kW and 500 kW.

Resources

The list below provides some resources for each type of policy or program. Please reference and contact relevant authorities and local utilities for the most up-to-date and accurate information on state and utility policies and incentive programs.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

Net metering and interconnection

Community solar

Programs and incentives

Other