On Thursday, October 15, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) released an order addressing several issues in the Community Solar Garden Program proceeding. The order requires Xcel to file compliance tariffs for the program within five days, and the MPUC will order that the tariffs become effective seven days after filing, “unless the Department or another party files an objection or the Commission through its Executive Secretary issues a notice indicating otherwise.”

Although the MPUC denied the petitions for reconsideration filed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Sunrise Energy Ventures, the MPUC, on its own motion, clarified its August 6 order that established a cap on the total capacity of community solar garden projects that occur near one another, referred to as “co-located projects.” The October 15 order explains why the MPUC found it necessary to impose this co-location cap and describes how Xcel will “‘scale down’ noncompliant applications to the applicable cap level,” which is 5 MW for applications filed before September 25, 2015, and 1 MW for applications filed between September 25, 2015 and September 15, 2016. The MPUC states that “its August 6 order does not allow solar-garden applicants to transfer their queue position related to a solar-garden application to a different developer for that portion of the project that exceeds the caps established by the Commission.”