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Minnesota Community Solar Gardens

Image provided by Winona Renewable
Minnesota Community Solar offers a new, simpler way for more electric ratepayers to access solar power. The model creates large solar arrays in locations ideal for generating solar power. Subscriptions to community solar gardens (CSGs) produce electricity for the grid, which is measured and credited to subscribers on their monthly electricity bill. Without CSGs, only 20 percent of all ratepayers could access solar energy because of site characteristics, lack of property ownership, cost, or legal restrictions. CSG subscriptions are available to anyone with an electric bill.
 
Whenever possible, Minnesota CSGs use Minnesota solar panels, labor, and financing. 
 
Community Solar Gardens (CSG):
  • Xcel will do a CSG program and other public utilities may file a CSG program.
  • CSGs must be under 1 MW, but there's no project limit or aggregate capacity. 
  • Subscribers may live in a contiguous county with a CSG project.
  • Subscription purchasers receive their portion of the CSG’s generation as a credit on their electric bill. 
  • Minimum subscription 200 watts.
The Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) is a possible option for CSGs. 
  • If VOST is applied for CSGs, then it will be limited solar gardens that are less than 1 MW but will not include a limit on the number of gardens.
  • (Statutory Reference MS 216B.164) (current MN PUC Docket No. E-002/M-13-867).