MN: PUC overhauls Xcel’s community solar program


The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has adopted a suite of revisions to Xcel Energy’s community solar program. Specifically, the PUC order adopting the revisions:

  • Approves the value-of-solar rate for solar garden applications filed after December 31, 2016, with modifications to the inflation escalator and the calculation of avoided distribution-capacity costs. The new rate for the following year must be filed annually by October 1.
  • Requests that the Department of Commerce investigate whether the bill credit rate should be adjusted to encourage developers to seek out residential and low-income subscribers or to site projects in beneficial locations. Findings are due March 1, 2017.
  • Requires Xcel Energy to file one or more proposals to develop community solar projects specifically for low-income customers.
  • Requires Xcel Energy to maintain the 1-MW cap on co-located solar gardens.
  • Requires Xcel Energy to remove the material-upgrade limit for new applications. (Currently, Xcel is excused from upgrading its distribution system to accommodate a co-located garden project if the requested upgrade is “material.”)
  • Requires Xcel Energy to modify its tariff to address project completion deadline issues.