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Community Solar Gardens (Xcel Energy)

Legislation passed in 2013 requires Xcel Energy to develop a program for community solar gardens. Xcel must file plans to operate a community solar program with the Public Utilities Commission by September 30, 2013.

Xcel Energy will develop and administer a community solar program subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission. Other investor-owned utilities may elect to develop community solar programs as well. Eligible projects may be up to 1,000 kW in size. A community solar project will be open to subscribers within the same or a contiguous county where a solar project is located. The minimum individual subscription is 200 watts. Maximum ownership by any one subscriber is 40% of the total system size. Subscribers will receive a credit on their electricity bill proportional to their subscription ownership through virtual net metering. The total capacity of the system is limited to 120% of the cumulative subscriber load. There is no limit on the number of community solar projects that can be developed. 

The legislation includes the following specifications for subscribers:

  • Subscribers to solar gardens will receive a bill credit for the electricity generated in proportion to the size of their subscription.
  • Individual subscriptions must be at least 200 Watts, but may not be sized at more than 120 percent of average annual subscriber energy consumption (in combination with other on-site distributed generation).
  • Subscribers may live in a county adjacent to county where the solar garden is located.
    (Community Solar Garden, MN Laws 2013, Chapt. 85 HF 729, Article 10, Section 2)