Xcel Energy will be offering another round of their Solar*Rewards program in Minnesota starting in January, 2018. The Solar*Rewards program offers an incentive based on the kilowatt0hour (kWh) generation from the customer’s PV system, as recorded by the production meter. The incentive is paid annually at $0.08 per kWh generated over 10 years for systems 0.5 – 20 kW-DC in capacity. The Solar*Rewards program was originally approved by the Minnesota legislature in 2013, and has been in effect since 2014. According to a PVWatts simulation, a 5 kW DC system in Minneapolis generating almost 7,000 kWh per year would collect over $5,500 in Solar*Rewards payments over a 10 year period.
To be eligible, the customer’s system capacity may not be more than 120% of the customer’s on-site annual energy consumption. That corresponds roughly that 5 kW-DC system owner should be using about 5,800 or more kWh each year – which is well below the national average of around 10,000 kWh for the occupants of a single-family home. Participating customers must complete program forms and pay a $250 engineering fee. If, prior to the completion of an engineering review, the application is denied or the customer elects not participate in the program, the customer’s application fee will be refunded.
The same PV project also cannot be a participant in the “Made in Minnesota Solar PV Incentive Program”, which is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Participating customers are required to own the PV system and the property/building on which the system will be installed.
Solar*Rewards participants will be required to relinquish their Renewable Energy Credits or other related incentives to Xcel Energy for the duration of the 10 year period. The Minnesota Solar*Rewards program in 2017 had 4.6 MW of capacity subscribed, with $5,000,000 allocated. The funding level for 2018 will be $15 million, and is expected to have up to 13.7 MW of capacity subscribed, which would be the equivalent of over 2,700 5kWDC PV installations. This program has been instrumental in the increase of Minnesota’s growth in small-scale PV generation, which increased 60% in output from the first nine months of 2016 to the same period in 2017, according to a recent U.S. Energy Information Agency report. For more information, go to Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards website.