Distributed Energy Resources (DER) is an area of emerging regulatory consideration both in Minnesota and nationally. As a result, the Commission engages stakeholders representing utilities, DER industries and consumers to participate in dialogue both as part of the formal docket process (ex. the Distributed Generation Workgroup advising the Commission’s update of the statewide interconnection standards and technical requirements) and informally to address emerging, non-controversial issues in a collaborative setting (ex. the Distributed Generation Advisory Group.)
Please look into these resources to find more information on distributed generation or distributed energy resources (including solar), or contact your local utility or applicable cooperative or municipality:
The DGWG was established in January 2017 to facilitate the process of establishing new Minnesota Interconnection Standards which it achieved in the formulation of the Technical Interconnection and Interoperability Requirements (TIIR) in early 2020. The DGWG is run by the PUC and consists of representatives from regulated utilities, municipalities, cooperatives, Distributed Energy Resource (DER) developers, as well as national interest groups like IREC and EPRI.
The DGWG works to facilitate discussion and collaboration on current and future interconnection issues and opportunities in a more efficient and direct way than through bringing issues through the formal Notice of Comment and Agenda Meeting process. Issues can be highly technical in nature, or more economic and policy oriented. Periodically, the DGWG will create Subgroups to tackle specific issues which can then be reported to group at large.
The DGAG was created by the Commission in October 2017. The Commission asked the DGAG to focus on resolving issues related to distributed energy resources (DER).  before those issues escalated to customer complaints. The issues range from patterns identified in customer complaints, lessons learned and emerging issues in DER integration, improvements to Commission services (e.g., dispute resolution, annual reporting forms, confidentiality, and privacy issues).
The DGAG acts through problem-solving issues that are not being addressed in formal Commission dockets and agenda meetings. The group may resolve some issues directly If immediate solutions are not found, the DGAG can build common understanding of issues. In this way, issues may be resolvedbefore they become disputes that go before the Commission.
Central to the success of the DGAG is participation by stakeholder groups that have valuable insights to share on DER issues. The group maintains a space for dialogue between the Commission and stakeholders, including utilities, state agencies, advocates, and developers. Members of this group serve at the invitation of the Commission’s Chair. Members can bring issues raised by their constituents to the group and then report back solutions. More, the DGAG provides regular updates to the Commission. Updates can help identify trends in the types of complaints being received, specific issues best addressed by the Commission at a planning or agenda meeting, and potential issues with the dispute-resolution process itself.
 There are a lot of terms used to describe customer-owned distributed generation or distributed energy resources. Some terms carry different meanings, and others reflect changes over time. The federal Public Utilities Regulatory Act (PURPA) refers to “small power producers”, “cogeneration”, and “qualifying facilities” (QF). Some examples of these are rooftop solar, solar + storage, combined heat and power, and distributed wind. Minnesota statute on interconnection references “distributed generation” (DG); whereas, the net metering statute uses similar terms to PURPA. “Distributed Energy Resources” is the emerging terminology used to capture supply and demand side resources that can be used throughout an electric distribution system to meet energy and reliability needs of customers; can be installed on either the customer or utility side of the electric meter; including, distributed generation and storage.
Disclaimer: This webpage is intended as an informational-only, general overview of some key Minnesota statutes, rules and Commission Orders related to customer-sited distributed generation. The information on this page does not represent a Commission interpretation of said statutes, rules and orders.