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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 1193

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 02/14/2019 03:04pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to energy; modifying the community solar garden program; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 216B.1641.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 216B.1641, is amended to read:


216B.1641 COMMUNITY SOLAR GARDEN.

(a) The public utility subject to section 116C.779 shall file by September 30, deleted text begin2013deleted text endnew text begin 2019new text end,
a plan with the commission to operate a community solar garden program which shall begin
operations within 90 days after commission approval of the plan. new text beginUpon approval of the
program required under this section, a program approved under this section before September
30, 2019, must cease operations, except that a community solar garden for which an
application is deemed complete under a prior program may continue to operate under that
program.
new text endOther public utilities may file an application at their election. The community
solar garden program must be designed to offset the energy use of not less than five
subscribers in each community solar garden facility of which no single subscriber has more
than a 40 percent interest. The owner of the community solar garden may be a public utility
or any other entity or organization that contracts to sell the output from the community solar
garden to the utility under section 216B.164. deleted text beginThere shall be no limitation on the number or
cumulative generating capacity of community solar garden facilities other than the limitations
imposed under section 216B.164, subdivision 4c, or other limitations provided in law or
regulations.
deleted text endnew text begin The public utility must accept qualified proposals for community solar gardens
each year in a form and on a schedule specified in the program approved by the commission.
The public utility subject to this section may submit qualified proposals to the program.
new text end

(b) new text beginThe public utility must submit evaluations of all qualified proposals to the
commission, along with recommendations regarding which qualified proposals should be
accepted. The commission must select the qualified proposals the public utility must accept.
The qualified proposals with the lowest cost to the public utility's customers must be selected.
The total nameplate capacity of qualified proposals selected by the commission must not
exceed 25 megawatts per year.
new text end

new text begin (c) new text endA solar garden is a facility that generates electricity by means of a ground-mounted
or roof-mounted solar photovoltaic device whereby subscribers receive a bill credit for the
electricity generated in proportion to the size of their subscription. The solar garden must
have a nameplate capacity of no more than one megawatt. new text beginWhen determining the size of a
community solar garden under this paragraph, the nameplate capacity of the community
solar garden must be combined with the nameplate capacity of any other community solar
garden that:
new text end

new text begin (1) is constructed within the same 12-month period as the community solar garden; and
new text end

new text begin (2) exhibits characteristics indicating a single development with the community solar
garden, including but not limited to ownership structure, shared interconnection, revenue
sharing arrangements, and common debt or equity financing.
new text end

Each subscription shall be sized to represent at least 200 watts of the community solar
garden's generating capacity and to supply, when combined with other distributed generation
resources serving the premises, no more than 120 percent of the average annual consumption
of electricity by each subscriber at the premises to which the subscription is attributed.

deleted text begin (c)deleted text end new text begin(d) new text endThe solar generation facility must be located in the service territory of the public
utility filing the plan. Subscribers must be retail customers of the public utility located in
the same county or a county contiguous to where the facility is located.

deleted text begin (d)deleted text end new text begin(e) new text endThe public utility must purchase from the community solar garden all energy
generated by the new text begincommunity new text endsolar garden. The purchase shall be at the rate deleted text begincalculated under
section 216B.164, subdivision 10, or, until that rate for the public utility has been approved
by the commission, the applicable retail rate. A solar garden is eligible for any incentive
programs offered under either section 116C.7792 or section 216C.415
deleted text endnew text begin proposed in the
qualified proposal submitted under paragraph (a)
new text end. A subscriber's portion of the purchase
shall be provided by a credit on the subscriber's bill.new text begin Notwithstanding any other provision
of law, the commission must not increase the rate paid for energy from the community solar
garden from the amount contained in the proposal.
new text end

deleted text begin (e)deleted text end new text begin(f) new text endThe commission may approve, disapprove, or modify a community solar garden
program. Any plan approved by the commission must:

(1) reasonably allow for the creation, financing, and accessibility of community solar
gardens;

(2) establish uniform standards, fees, and processes for the interconnection of community
solar garden facilities that allow the new text beginpublic new text endutility to recover reasonable interconnection
costs for each community solar garden;

(3) not apply different requirements to utility and nonutility community solar garden
facilities;

(4) be consistent with the public interest;

(5) identify the information that must be provided to potential subscribers to ensure fair
disclosure of future costs and benefits of subscriptions;

(6) include a program implementation schedule;

(7) identify all proposed rules, fees, and charges; and

(8) identify the means by which the program will be promoted.

deleted text begin (f)deleted text end new text begin(g) new text endNotwithstanding any other law, neither the manager of nor the subscribers to a
community solar garden facility shall be considered a utility solely as a result of their
participation in the community solar garden facility.

deleted text begin (g)deleted text end new text begin(h) new text endWithin 180 days of commission approval of a plan under this section, a new text beginpublic
new text end utility shall begin crediting subscriber accounts for each community solar garden facility
in its service territory, and shall file with the commissioner of commerce a description of
its crediting system.

deleted text begin (h)deleted text end new text begin(i) new text endFor the purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given:

(1) "subscriber" means a retail customer of a new text beginpublic new text endutility who owns one or more
subscriptions of a community solar garden facility interconnected with that new text beginpublic new text endutility;
deleted text begin and
deleted text end

(2) "subscription" means a contract between a subscriber and the owner of a solar gardendeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin;
and
new text end

new text begin (3) "qualified proposal" means a proposal that meets the requirements of the community
solar garden program approved by the commission and that:
new text end

new text begin (i) provides evidence the proposer is able to construct, own, and operate the community
solar garden for its proposed life;
new text end

new text begin (ii) delivers at least 60 percent of the energy generated by the community solar garden
facility to residential customers;
new text end

new text begin (iii) includes a plan to seek low-income residential customers in the community solar
garden;
new text end

new text begin (iv) provides a firm rate that customers of the public utility must pay for energy from
the community solar garden for the life of the community solar garden; and
new text end

new text begin (v) describes any benefits the community solar garden provides to the public utility, the
public utility's customers, the electric utility grid, the environment, and Minnesota.
new text end