(Midwest Energy News, November 11, 2013)—As customers begin putting money down to join one of Minnesota’s first community solar gardens, new comments to state regulators reveal significant disagreements about how the program should work.
A new state law requires Xcel Energy to develop a program that will allow customers to buy shares of power produced at nearby solar installations, known as community solar gardens.
The idea is to make solar power accessible to the majority of Minnesotans who either don’t own their home or have a rooftop that isn’t sunny enough, strong enough, or angled correctly for installing solar panels.
Xcel unveiled its plan for the program on Sept. 30, and last week solar developers responded with several objections over proposed fees, rates and restrictions the utility would place on the projects.
MN Community Solar started accepting deposits a few weeks ago for a 40-kilowatt solar garden to be built on the roof of a south Minneapolis warehouse. But it expects it will have to refund that money if major changes aren’t made to Xcel’s proposal.
“I don’t believe that we’ll have a successful [community solar gardens] program if we don’t get better terms. I firmly believe that it won’t be successful,” said Ken Bradley, CEO of MN Community Solar. Continue reading “Xcel, advocates at odds over Minnesota solar gardens rules”