FAQ

What is the Minnesota Community Solar Garden Program?

 The Minnesota Solar Garden Program is a solar program created by the State of Minnesota Legislature, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC), and the Department of Commerce (DOC) aimed at expanding access to solar for all Minnesota residences, communities, and businesses.

Helpful links to additional information:

http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/topics/resources/energy-legislation-initiatives/xcel-communiity-solar-gardens.jsp http://www.xcelenergy.com/About_Us/Energy_News/News_Archive/Xcel_Energy_proposes_new_solar_power_choice

Who is eligible for Minnesota Community Solar Gardens?

All residential, commercial, industrial, municipal and community customers in the public utility service area.

What are the benefits to all Minnesotans?
  • Financial Benefits – Minnesota Community Solar Garden programs offer a hedge against volatile energy costs with a predictable cost of energy into the future.
  • Minnesota Community Solar Garden Subscriber Agreements (SA) – An SA provides customers the option to pay no upfront costs with a fixed rate per kWh that is below the
    current utility retail rate.
  • Environmental Benefits – Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainability goals.
  • Corporate Image – Expand your participation in local community goals by participating in solar, enhance corporate value with consumers and employees.
  • There are two options for all energy consumers to participate:
    • Subscribe to a Minnesota Community Solar Garden in the same manner as you subscribe to your public utility and receive your solar energy and bill monthly. (Customer
      experience remains the same, except the electricity cost is less each month).
    • Lease land or rooftop space to Minnesota Community Solar Gardens and receive rent benefits for land or space, which previously had no economic value.
How do residential customers participate?
  • All public utility service customers are eligible.
  • Purchase solar energy direct from your solar garden (your public utility continues to provide power to your residence).
  • Solar power costs less than your current electricity costs.
How can my community and businesses participate?

Communities and businesses can participate in solar gardens by leasing land or rooftop space for solar gardens generating an additional revenue stream, while also receiving and using the energy from the solar garden.   Communities and businesses have the option to receive the benefits from solar.

  • All public utility service communities and business customers are eligible.
  • Purchase solar energy direct from your solar garden (Your public utility continues to provide power to your community or business).
  • Solar Power costs less than your current electricity costs from Xcel.
  • Lease land to a solar garden.
What are the requirements for the Minnesota Solar Garden program?
    • All Xcel Energy customers are eligible.
    • Provide 12 months of most recent electric bills to calculate up to 120% of total energy consumption.
    • Minimum purchase of 200W and maximum 400KW of energy per solar garden. (Energy consumption exceeding 400KW can participate in multiple solar gardens).
What are the financial benefits?
  • Lease land to SolarStone for the Minnesota Community Solar Gardens and receive higher lease payments than from agricultural land or turn unproductive land into high
    value lease.
  • Lease 50acres near 3phase line (Receive approximately $1 million over 25 year lease).
  • Support solar by signing up to use solar energy from SolarStone.
  • Solar Electricity costs less than purchasing power from public utility (approximately 10% savings).
  • No upfront costs (Customer experience remains the same, with the exception of electricity costs are reduced each month).
  • Lease land and receive energy savings, benefit from both!
When is the Minnesota Solar Garden Program start date?

 Land under lease to apply into the Xcel program starts in December 2014. (Land is first requirement for communities with land holdings to participate.)

Subscription to solar garden Subscription Agreements are possible now.

Evaluating your solar needs starts with the review of electric bills.

Development of solar gardens can begin now for your business or community.

Subscription agreement savings begin upon commissioning of the solar garden, first projects to begin operation Q3 2015.

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