Minnesota Paves the Way for Solar Advocates Nationwide

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feature-0-1395160169392.jpg The solar battle between utilities, stakeholders, solar customers and other rate payers is coming to an end—at least in Minnesota. Last Wednesday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted in favor of the nation’s first statewide formula for calculating the value of customer-generated solar power. Minnesota is the first state to calcula

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  • solar_dave
    solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Minnesota Paves the Way for Solar Advocates Nationwide

    hmmm a move out of the normal utility take on solar.
  • pleppik
    pleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Minnesota Paves the Way for Solar Advocates Nationwide
    solar_dave wrote: »
    hmmm a move out of the normal utility take on solar.

    I'm about to put in a new PV system in Minnesota. My installer has recommended that we try to get on the "old" net metering, rather than the new "value of solar" rate.

    That's because the VOS rate is expected to be higher for the first five years, but lower after that. Over the 20-30 year lifetime of the system, traditional net metering will be a better deal.

    That said--it's a pretty close thing. I was honestly expecting the utilities to come up with a VOS rate substantially below the current retail rate. Instead, it's slightly higher.

    I think their long-term game plan is to get people used to the idea of selling all PV to the Xcel, and buying all usage from Xcel. In the long run, that's better for Xcel than the model of using local PV locally and only buying and selling excess.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,534 admin
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    Re: Minnesota Paves the Way for Solar Advocates Nationwide

    In California, the older panels are almost always a better deal for the solar GT consumer vs the newer plans. And so far, most states appear to grand father the old panels either with no expiration dates (currently) or in 20+ years (sometimes original owner only?).

    Make no doubt about it... GT Solar with Net Metering can be a financial win for the homeowner (especially those folks with large power bills).

    And both utilities and state gov/PUCs see that there is less money flowing through their hands--And many are chomping at the bit to change the money flow (so more cash sticks to their hands).

    My two cents is that Net Metering is a win due to current laws/regulations--And can be taken away at any time.

    Your best first "investment" is for conservation. Insulation, more insulation, replacing older/power hungry appliances, look at heat pump/high efficiency Air to Air and Air to water systems, etc.

    Usually you have a higher rate of return and are not left to the whims of government and utilities to change the rules in the middle of the game.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Minnesota Paves the Way for Solar Advocates Nationwide

    here is another article with some good graphs explaining the calcs.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2014/03/could-minnesotas-value-of-solar-make-everyone-a-winner?cmpid=rss
     
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  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Minnesota Paves the Way for Solar Advocates Nationwide

    And the really fun thing is that tomorrow when the people who make the rules decide to change them again your 20-year plan is out the window 'cause they've decided not to grandfather any installs or agreements.

    Always remember they can arbitrarily change the terms of the contract whenever they wish, but you make a capital investment you can't alter.
  • pleppik
    pleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Minnesota Paves the Way for Solar Advocates Nationwide
    And the really fun thing is that tomorrow when the people who make the rules decide to change them again your 20-year plan is out the window 'cause they've decided not to grandfather any installs or agreements.

    Always remember they can arbitrarily change the terms of the contract whenever they wish, but you make a capital investment you can't alter.

    Indeed.

    Fortunately, in MN it would take an act of the state legislature to change the rules, since the transition to VOS is written into state law. That makes it a little harder than just filing a new tariff.