The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved Minnesota Power’s Community Solar Garden Program. Significantly, the PUC concluded that Minnesota Power’s program is not subject to the state’s Community Solar Garden law, and it requires Minnesota Power to issue an RFP for three non-utility solar gardens (up to 1 MW each), in addition to the utility-owned projects, in order to open the program to new ownership and development models. The RFPs will be issued after consultation with interested stakeholders.
The PUC’s order also requires Minnesota Power to retain the SRECs attributable to the projects in exchange for appropriate market-value compensation to subscribers, but states that the SRECs may not be used to comply with the state’s solar standard for systems under 20 kW. In addition, the order requires Minnesota Power to ensure accessibility for low-income residential customers.
Minnesota Power has already awarded contracts for the construction of a 40-kW array and a 1-MW array, both of which will be owned by Minnesota Power.