'''''Note: H.F. 729, enacted in May 2013, includes many changes to Minnesota's net metering law. These changes are described above, but most will not take effect until rules are implemented at the PUC. The below summary reflects the current rules.'''''
Minnesota's net-metering law, enacted in 1983, applies to all investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. All "qualifying facilities" less than 40 kilowatts (kW) in capacity are eligible.* Capacity is measured based on a system's output averaged over a 15-minute interval. There is no limit on statewide capacity.
Each utility must compensate customers for customer net excess generation (NEG) at the "average retail utility energy rate," defined as "the total annual class revenue from sales of electricity minus the annual revenue resulting from fixed charges, divided by the annual class kilowatt-hour sales." This rate is basically the same as a utility's retail rate. Compensation may take the form of an actual payment (i.e., check for purchase) for NEG or as a credit on the customer's bill. For systems 40 kW to 1 MW in size, NEG will be credited at the avoided cost rate. Alternatively, a customer may elect to be compensated in the form of a kWh credit. Excess credits will be reimbursed at the end of the calendar year at the avoided cost rate.
Aggregate Net Metering
H.F. 729 requires public utilities to offer meter aggregation for customers that request it. The meter must be owned or leased by the customer requesting aggregation, and must be located on contiguous property owned by the same customer. The total aggregate of all meters is subject to the same net metering size limitations described above. “Contiguous property” means that the property shares a common border without regard to any easements, transportation right of ways, public thoroughfares, or utility right-of-ways. Utilities must comply with aggregation requests within 90 days. The aggregation of meters only applies to charges that use kWhs as the billing determinant. NEG is credited to the next monthly bill in the form of kWh credits. Utilities may request permission from the PUC to charge administrative fees for meter aggregation.
Community Solar Gardens
By September 30, 2013, Xcel Energy must file a plan with the PUC to offer a Community Solar Garden program. Other utilities may also file applications for such programs. The program must be designed to offset energy use for at least 5 subscribers, of which no single subscriber may have more than a 40% interest, and each subscription must represent at least 200 watts of the system’s generating capacity. Subscribers must be retail customers of the utility and located in the same county or a county contiguous to where the facility is located. Subscribers are compensated at the [ http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=MN177F&re=0&... Value of Solar Tariff] (VOST) rate (or, at the retail rate during the time before the VOST is available). Community projects may also be eligible for the solar performance based incentives offered by [http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=MN174F&re=0&... Xcel Energy] or the [http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=MN175F&re=0&... Department of Commerce]. The utility that offers the program may own the PV system, or another entity may own the project and net meter the electricity generated. Systems may be ground- or roof-mounted, must be located within the utility service territory, and may not exceed system capacity and generation limits that apply to all net-metered systems.
In July 2012, the Public Utilities Commission opened Docket No. E-999/CI-12-785 in order to determine the minimum amount of electricity a customer must consume on site in order to qualify for net metering.
* ''The term "qualifying facility" is defined in the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). It generally includes most renewable-energy systems and combined-heat-and-power (CHP) systems.''