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Value of Solar Tariff Methodology


Legislation passed in 2013 requires the Department of Commerce (Commerce) to establish a Value of Solar (VOS) Methodology (Minn. Statute § 216B.164, Subd. 10).   Key points of the statute include : 

  • As an alternative to net metering, investor-owned utilities may apply to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a value of solar tariff that compensates customers through a credit for the value to the utility, its customers, and society for operating distributed PV systems interconnected to the utility and operated by the customer primarily for meeting their own energy needs. The utility must demonstrate that the alternative tariff appropriately applies the methodology established by Commerce and approved by the PUC;
  • The methodology must include the value of energy and its delivery, generation capacity, transmission capacity, transmission and distribution line losses, and environmental value.
  • The Department of Commerce must establish the methodology and submit it to the PUC by January 31, 2013. By statute, the PUC has 60 days to approve, modify, or disapprove the methodology.  After that, a Minnesota Investor Owned Utility may file a VOS tariff that “appropriately applies the methodology established by the Department and approved by the Commission” as an alternative to net metering.
  • The VOS separates the transactions of customer electricity usage and production, allowing utilities to recover of the cost to serve customers who generate on-site solar electricity. Customers are billed for all electricity usage under their existing applicable tariff and are credited for the solar electricity they produce under the approved VOS tariff.

Timeline 


See Docket No: E999/M-14-65 for additional details related to the PUC review process.

April 1, 2014 - The Department of Commerce submitted the final Minnesota Value of Solar Methodology (.pdf) and Department Cover Letter (.pdf) in response to the Minnesota Public Utitlities Commission April 1, 2014 Order Approving Distributed Solar Value Methodology in Docket No. E999/M-14-65.

January 31, 2014  - The Department of Commerce submitted the Minnesota Value of Solar Methodology (.pdf) and Department Comments to the PUC on January 31, 2014 (Docket No: E999/M-14-65, In the Matter of Establishing a Distributed Solar Value Methodology under Minn. Stat. § 216B.164, subds. 10 (e) and (f).)

The PUC posted a Notice of Expedited Comment period with additional information on comment due dates and expected hearing date.  

December 10, 2013 – due date for Third Round of Comments on the Minnesota VOST Methodology 

In the third round of comments, the Department of Commerce requested stakeholder responses to the Draft VOS Methodology (the Draft VOS Methodology was presented on November 19th, 2013 at the Value of Solar Tariff Methodology Workshop 4).  These comments were used to inform the final draft VOST Methodology.

November 19, 2013 - Value of Solar Tariff Methodology Workshop 4: Draft Methodology (8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)

  • Workshop 4 Objectives:
    • Present draft methodology;
    • Answer clarification questions regarding the methodology;
    • Review timeline for stakeholder written comments.
  • Meeting Materials

October 15, 2013 - Value of Solar Tariff Methodology Workshop 3: Stakeholder Discussion 

October 8, 2013 - due date for Second Round of Comments on the Minnesota VOST Methodology

Value of Solar Tariff Methodology Questions for Responses Due Oct. 8 (.pdf)

In the second round of comments, the Department of Commerce requested stakeholder responses to questions on components and methodology (above). These responses were used to frame the October 15, 2013 Stakeholder Workshop.

October 1, 2013 - VOS Methodology Workshop 2: Methodologies and Perspectives

(This workshop provided a review of a proposed approach to methodology, stakeholder perspectives, and identification of key issues with a facilitated discussion.) 

September 20, 2013 - due date for Initial Comments on the Minnesota VOST Methodology 

These comments (above) were used to frame the Stakeholders Perspectives portion of the October 1 Stakeholder Workshop. 

September 17, 2013 - VOS Methodology Workshop 1: Overview of National Efforts 

(This stakeholder workshop provided an overview of solar photovoltaic benefit and cost studies with an opportunity for stakeholder Q&A.)

  • Workshop 1 Objectives:
    • Learn about Value of Solar concepts and work to date around the country;
    • Develop a shared understanding of the range and complexity of Value of Solar methods;
    • Prepare stakeholders to be actively engaged in the Minnesota VOST methodology development. 
  • Meeting Materials

August 9, 2013 - Value of Solar Tariff Methodology memo (08/09/2013 | .pdf) to the Solar, Distributed Generation, and Net Metering Stakeholders.