Category: Community Solar

Welcome to the Stoel Rives Community Solar blog topic page!

Archived here are all our posts covering U.S. community solar developments, with particular emphasis on the Minnesota solar community garden program (disclaimer, we have and continue to represent clients in the MnPUC community solar garden docket).

Our lead authors on community solar are:

Brian Nese | Andrew Moratzka | Sara Bergan | Adam Schurle | Emma Fazio

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Xcel Announces 150 MW Solar RFP

This morning, Xcel Energy announced plans to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 150 MW of solar energy generation. Xcel included its RFP plans in a filing submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) outlining its strategy for complying with Minnesota’s new solar energy standard. The standard requires that public utilities like Xcel … Continue Reading

Initial Rate for Minnesota Community Solar Gardens Set (Almost)

After a full day of hearing arguments on Xcel’s proposed Community Solar Garden (CSG) program (see more on that here), the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission deliberated in public on the issue yesterday and made some important modifications to Xcel’s proposal. The program would allow Xcel customers to invest in off-site solar facilities and receive bill … Continue Reading

Viewpoints Diverge on the Value of Solar in Minnesota

Final comments were filed yesterday on the proposed methodology for calculating a value of solar (VOS) rate for utilities in Minnesota (more on the proposed methodology is here). With the Commission required to make a decision within 60 days of January 31, 2014, parties remain in fairly wide disagreement about what is required by statute, particularly what … Continue Reading

What is the Value of Solar? Minnesota Agency Starts to Answer. . .

by Sara Bergan and Sarah Johnson Phillips In May 2013, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation that, among other things, set a solar standard, directed Xcel Energy to develop a community solar garden program, and provided for the development of an alternative tariff mechanism to net metering that would also serve as the rate for community solar … Continue Reading

Plans for Community Solar Gardens in Minnesota Emerge

After much anticipation, Xcel Energy submitted its petition for approval (PDF) of the company’s proposed community solar gardens program on September 30th. The program would give utility customers a new way to engage in solar generation without having to invest onsite. A solar garden is a “facility that generates electricity by means of a ground-mounted or … Continue Reading

Community Solar Projects Coming to Minnesota

At a time when the Minnesota Legislature is considering a proposal that would create a solar electricity standard, community solar projects are gaining popularity.  Six weeks from now, Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association will begin construction on Minnesota’s first community solar program, with the goal of having the project completed by Memorial Day. A community solar … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Helps Launch Solar Industry’s First EPC Contract Template

SolarTech, a non-profit private/public consortium, recently announced the solar industry’s first engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract template for solar financing. Whereas a PPA (power purchase agreement), loan agreement or operating lease agreement handle the front-end financing relationship, the EPC agreement handles the execution phase of the project. The template was developed by the SolarTech … Continue Reading

New Community Solar Guide Available

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar American Communities program released a community solar guide late last week. The guide presents detailed information about three project models: utility-sponsored projects, special purpose projects formed for producing community solar power and non-profit sponsored projects. The guide outlines the legal and financial implications of each model, provides practical tools … Continue Reading

$22 Million for Community Renewable Energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced this week that up to $22 million from the Recovery Act would be allotted to up to 4 eligible communities nationwide in order to encourage utility-scale renewable energy systems that provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy supplies for their communities, while creating jobs and new economic development opportunities. The projects will demonstrate how … Continue Reading
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