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Distributed Energy Resources

Information Gathering and Ongoing Assessment

Distributed energy resources are utility or customer-sited resources on the distribution grid that can include combined heat and power, solar photovoltaic, wind, battery storage, thermal storage, and demand-response technologies. Distributed generation (DG) is the generation of electricity on-site or close to where it is needed in small facilities designed to meet local needs.

DG is sometimes referred to as on-site generation, dispersed generation, or decentralized generation. Distributed generation may give lower environmental impacts and improved security of supply.

Several key points have emerged. Advances in technology and economics are contributing to increasing interest in DG in Minnesota; consumer requests for DG will likely grow. It’s important to accurately identify and quantify the impacts (costs and values) of DG; this can be difficult because costs and values of DG vary geographically and in time.

In support of growing customer interest and in response to stakeholder identified issues and opportunities, DER staff is conducting an initial assessment of Minnesota distributed generation. This initial assessment will include determining a baseline (historical and current) for Minnesota DG and net metering installations, benchmarking Minnesota practices and installations with other states and national best practices, reviewing the current Minnesota DG interconnection process and requirements, and identifying DG impacts (costs, benefits, reliability).   

Siting and Interconnection

Solar

Solar energy policy and program offerings have changed in Minnesota in recent years, and the scale of solar projects being deployed today includes residential, commercial, and utility scale solar. Learn more about Minnesota rules regarding siting and interconnection.

Interconnection

Minnesota has statutes, codes, and rules regarding interconnection of solar energy systems, large and small. The state uses the following to measure safety, reliability, and code compliance for interconnection:

Interconnection Issues

Sometimes there may be disagreement regarding the conditions of interconnection from the utility. Solar professionals and their clients are encouraged to work with the electric utility to resolve disputes in a way that is consistent with state law, codes and standards. If discussion doesn’t result in a satisfactory interconnection approval, there are state resources that may be useful. 

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates the rates, services, and policies of electric utilities. The Consumer Affairs Office of the PUC offers an informal process to help resolve certain types of disputes between customers and utilities, such as interconnection disputes. See “File a Complaint” for more information.  

Wind

The Minnesota Legislature has established a state policy to site large wind energy conversion systems (LWECS, systems five megawatts and over) in an orderly manner compatible with environmental preservation, sustainable development, and the efficient use of resources. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) has authority to permit LWECS projects.   Small wind energy conversion systems (less than five megawatts) are permitted according to local ordinances. General information and state permitting project docket listings are available on our website. 

MN Interconnection Requirements 

2004 PUC ruling on Interconnection Standards (E-999/CI-01-1023) (.pdf) 

Process – Attachment  1 

Requirements – Attachment 2 

Application – Attachment 3 

Engineering Data Submittal – Attachment 4 

Agreement – Attachment 5

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