Xcel Energy wins key clarification for community solar program
The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the public utility commission’s community solar order, allowing Xcel Energy to proceed with a solar program with developers as planned.
We helped Xcel Energy, a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with operations in eight Western and Midwestern states, resolve a dispute over how a community solar garden program approved by the legislature would be implemented. After receiving extensive applications from developers, Xcel Energy asked the Minnesota Public Utility Commission (PUC) to clarify how a 1 megawatt cap on individual solar gardens set by the Minnesota legislature applied to adjacent or co-located gardens as proposed by the developers. To preserve the community focus of the solar program and avoid an adverse rate impact for customers, Xcel Energy argued that developers should not be allowed to circumvent the cap through co-location. Based on these arguments, the PUC set a temporary five megawatt cap on co-located gardens, and both the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the PUC's order when a large solar developer challenged it.