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Alternative Review

Relevant Statutes: Minn. Stat. 216E.04/Minn. Rules 7850.2800 – 7850.3900 

Permitting Timeline: 6 months, but can be extended up to 3 months for good cause or with agreement of the applicant 

The PUC Role: The Commission reviews, helps build the record, and the Commissioners will make the final decision about what appropriate action to take. 

Who’s Involved: 

  • Minnesota Public Utilities Commission 
  • Department of Commerce – Energy Environmental Review & Analysis 
  • Office of Administrative Hearings – Administrative Law Judge 
  • Permit Applicant  

MNPUC_Alt Process_Final

Permitting Process:

Once an application for a Solar Site Permit is filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission), the Commission will make a determination of whether the application meets all of the information requirements in statute and rule. After the application is accepted as complete, the permit review process begins. Commission and Department of Commerce Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) staff hold a public information and environmental assessment scoping meeting to explain the review process, describe the project and gather the input of the public to help determine the scope of the environmental assessment. There is a written comment period along with the meeting. The EERA is tasked with preparing an environmental assessment, on behalf of the Commission, for solar site permit applications. The environmental assessment contains information on the human and environmental impacts of the proposed project and alternatives, as well as ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate potential impacts. When the EERA has completed the environmental assessment, a public hearing will be held. The hearing will be presided over by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Office of Administrative Hearings. Members of the public will have an opportunity to make an oral presentation, present evidence, and ask questions of the applicants and Agency staff. There is a public comment period following the hearing. After the close of the comment period, the ALJ will provide a written report to the Commission. Upon completion of the public hearing and after receiving the report from the ALJ, the Commission will review all the information in the record, including public comments, and decide whether to issue a site permit for the project. If a permit is issued, it will identify permit requirements and measures to mitigate potential impacts. Permittees cannot begin constructing the project unless a permit is issued.


Need More Help?

Email: publicadvisor.puc@state.mn.us

Call the Commission @ 651-296-0406

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