Distributed Generation or Distributed Energy Resources in Minnesota
Minnesota and Federal law allows customers to install distributed generation (DG)  or Distributed Energy Resources (DER)  and use the electricity generated or stored to offset the electricity they would otherwise purchase from their electric utility, including cooperatives and municipal utilities. Distributed generation or Distributed Energy Resources (e.x. solar, wind, combined heat and power) are connected to a utility’s electric distribution system. As of 2016, there were 3,446 on-site distributed solar systems reported in Minnesota. In addition, some utility customers also have an option to participate in a community solar garden. For more information on distributed energy, see the side bar. More data on distributed generation in Minnesota is available here.
 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.