Program Xcel’s CSG program was mandated by legislation. Under state law, https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/216B.1641 Xcel Energy was required to file a plan for a CSG program with the Commission by September 30, 2013, and other public utilities were given the option to file a plan. As of January 2020, no other utility has filed an application under this statute. For this reason, community solar garden programs offered by other IOU’s, cooperatives, or municipal utilities may be quite different.
DOC website CSG
OAG website CSG:
Third-party solar providers play a major role in Xcel Energy’s program. Under the statute, third-party community solar garden developers are permitted to develop and operate projects, as well as market subscriptions directly to Xcel Energy customers. The Commission does not regulate or have authority over these third-party garden developers apart from the contracts they are required to sign with Xcel Energy and that are included in the utility’s tariffs. The statute also specifies that there shall be no limitation on the number of gardens or the cumulative generating capacity of community solar garden facilities apart from the limitations imposed under Minn. Stat., section 216B.164, subdivision 4c, or other limitations provided in law or regulations.
Xcel Energy administers the CSG program, which the Company refers to as “Solar*Rewards Community.” The Company maintains an extensive website, including but not limited to information on how the program works, how to contact a solar garden developer, customer bill credits, and information related to solar garden development:
In addition, Xcel Energy sponsors a CSG stakeholder workgroup. Solar installers and developers interested in participating in the program are advised to join and participate in this workgroup. To do so please contact: SRCMN@xcelenergy.com
There are currently a number of different types of solar garden facilities, and garden developers participating in the program. Because business models differ across developers, so do the contracts that subscribers are asked to sign. Billing disputes between the program subscriber and the garden operator should be directed to the operator. The Commission has issued over 38 decisions relating to different aspects of the program, including decisions that clarify and modify earlier decisions. These Orders can be found in eDockets under Docket No. E-002/M-13-867. Two initial Orders approving Xcel Energy’s proposed program plan include Orders issued on April 7, 2014 and September 17, 2014.