The 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session is in full swing - virtually! Here's a look at what bills we're working on this session, including Community Solar Garden reforms, an Avoided Cost change, a Solar Bill of Rights package, and much more.
Solar on Schools has been a policy priority for MnSEIA for the 2019-20 biennium. Several bills have been aimed at providing grants or other funding mechanisms for solar installations on school buildings, and we are lobbying for all of them. Putting solar on school buildings just makes sense!
Energy storage is a great way to maximize the benefits of solar by enhancing the efficiency and reliability of the grid. With costs rapidly decreasing, MnSEIA is aiming to help grow the storage market in Minnesota by changing incentive programs so everyone can benefit.
Brightfields are an amazing way to turn otherwise unusable land into clean energy generation by installing solar on closed landfills. See how MnSEIA is creating a pilot project to demonstrate the many benefits of brightfields projects.
The 2020 Legislative Session was one like no other, but MnSEIA found ways to keep Moving Solar Forward. Here’s a look back, including our work to extend the Solar*Rewards program, the Solar on Schools bill, Community Solar Gardens legislation, and more.
Minnesota has a nation-leading Community Solar Garden program that MnSEIA has been lobbying for since 2013. See what work MnSEIA has done recently and how we're collaborating with our partners to strengthen this important part of the Minnesota solar industry.
A common behind-the-meter solar development for an apartment complex or a corporate campus with many buildings involves multiple sub-40kW PV systems, each run through a separate meter. Some utilities in Minnesota wrongfully interpret the so-called “one-mile rule” to assert that facilities can net meter only one 40kW system within one mile of any other under common ownership. See how MnSEIA interprets this and our legal memo on the issue.
An innovative, value-driven market maker for Commercial & Industrial solar flies under the radar in Minnesota: the Photovoltaic Demand Credit Rider. This special rate, when coupled with net-metering, is available for demand-billed Xcel customers with on-site solar installations between 40kWAC and 1 MWAC. Formerly known as the “Capacity Credit,” the PV Demand Credit Rider aims to compensate solar’s ability to shave the utility’s peak demand.
Aside from utility-scale solar, Community Solar Gardens, and rooftop solar, Minnesota has a subset of projects that are in the 1-10MW size range. Distributed Generation (DG), or mid-size, front-of-meter installations would boost resiliency of the grid, develop marginal land, and offer utilities a better price per MWh than the Value of Solar. MnSEIA has made it a priority to fix the regulatory framework to spur development of this promising market.
Few things are as frustrating to a Community Solar Garden owner or operator as a garden going offline for weeks or months with little notice. An unexpected shutdown creates cascades of financial fallout, from garden creditors, to owner-operators, and to the subscribers themselves. MnSEIA helps mitigate the impacts of outages by making their occurrences more predictable and their costs more equitable.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission devised a set of statewide Interconnection Standards in 2004, and updated the standards with federal guidance as a baseline in 2016. With Phase I of the new interconnection standards—”MN DIP”—completed in the summer of 2019, MnSEIA continues to work with utilities to shape Phases II and III.
Since 2013, when MnSEIA helped pass the Value of Solar rate, we have worked at the PUC to ensure the rate is fair and accurately calculated. See how we work with utilities and the PUC so the VOS is beneficial for everyone involved.
The 2019 Minnesota Legislative session had several big ticket energy proposals impacting the solar industry relating to energy storage, changes to the Solar*Rewards program, solar on brownfields, and more. See our recap and how MnSEIA worked to Move MN Solar Forward.
Xcel Energy's Renewable*Connect program has been a huge success so far with over 2,350 people currently on the waitlist. Learn more about the program and how MnSEIA is working with the PUC and Xcel to expand it.
In May of 2019, Xcel Energy announced its plans to shut down all of its coal plants, start adding more wind resources, and beginning in 2025, to procure approximately 3,000MW of additional utility-scale solar. See what MnSEIA thinks about this announcement and how we want to help.
MnSEIA works with many partners including government agencies, utilities, non-profits and more to advance clean energy goals in Minnesota. Learn more about these groups and our involvement at the link below.