Xcel Energy's Renewable*Connect program allows the utility to sell customers solar and wind Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), which are the legal instruments that track generation from renewable assets. This can be done in lieu of an installed system or community solar subscription, allowing more customers to participate. Customers can choose the length of their subscription and how much renewable energy they want to subscribe for, with the energy being generated locally at the North Star Solar project in Chisago County and the Odell Wind Farm in southern Minnesota. Soon, the Elk River project in Rock County will bring 80 MW of solar to the Renewable*Connect program. The program, officially in pilot stage, has been operational since 2017. By May of 2018, the program was fully subscribed, and by the end of 2019 there were 2,350 customers on the waitlist. As of the end of March, 2020, Xcel reports 183,054,997 kWh sold through the program.
MnSEIA’s work relating to the Renewable*Connect program ranges from work at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to promote transparency and fairness in the program, to advocacy for policies that will increase solar generation capacity available for RECs that could be used in the program. With such a large waitlist, it is clear that the people of Minnesota want to “Move Solar Forward."
Learn more about the Renewable*Connect program on Xcel Energy's website.