MINNESOTA IS A GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE AWAY FROM 450 MW OF SOLAR
Move over lakes and gophers, Minnesota is going solar.
Yesterday the Minnesota legislature passed a substantial solar energy bill that will result in the development of more than 450 megawatts of solar by 2020. Solar advocates are awaiting Governor Dayton’s signature which, given his support for solar, is expected shortly.
This bill represents one of the most significant solar victories of the 2013 legislative session. Fresh Energy, Sierra Club, MNSEIA, and many other organizations worked to pass this bill and kick-start a solar economy in their state.
The bill contains so many smart new solar policies, we recommend a full read. Below we highlight some of the most exciting parts of the legislation:
1.5 percent Solar Energy RES Requirement
Investor-owned utilities (IOUs) must generate at least 1.5 percent of their total electric retail sales from solar sources by the end of 2020. Municipally owned utilities and rural electric coops do not have to comply with the 1.5 percent solar requirement.
At least 10 percent of the new solar standard must be met by solar energy generated from solar devices of 20 kilowatts or less. The systems will be incentivized through a $5 million per year fund for the next 5 years. The incentives will be production-based, with a 10 year payment stream.
In addition to the 1.5 percent requirement, the bill includes language stating that it is a state energy goal (not mandatory) to get to 10 percent solar by 2030. However, the investor-owned utilities were able to get a provision in the bill that states that utilities can petition the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to cap the total amount of net metered projects in their service district when it reaches 4 percent of gross sales. (Note that this cap does not apply to VOST projects, and the cap only applies to IOUs.)
“Made in MN” Solar Module Incentives
The bill authorizes additional production-based incentives for systems that use “Made in Minnesota” solar modules. Payments will