Value of Solar Tariff (Minnesota)

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Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Financial Incentive Program

Place Minnesota

Name Value of Solar Tariff
Incentive Type Performance-Based Incentive
Applicable Sector Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Local Government, State Government, Multi-Family Residential, Agricultural
Eligible Technologies Photovoltaics
Active Incentive No

Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs
Amount To be determined by the Department of Commerce

Rates are locked in for the full 20-year contract

Eligible System Size Up to 1 MW

Start Date 2014

Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits Utility

Terms 20-year contract between utility and system owner
Program Administrator Minnesota Department of Commerce
Date added to DSIRE 2013-06-18
Last DSIRE Review 2014-01-31

References DSIREDatabase of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency[1]


Note: This program is only available to customers of one of the state's investor-owned utilities (Alliant, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power Company, Xcel Energy). Customers of a municipal utility or rural electric cooperative are ineligible for this program.

By January 31, 2014, the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) must develop a distributed solar value methodology and submit it to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval. The DOC must consult with stakeholders in order to develop the methodology, which must take into account: the value of energy and its delivery; generation capacity; transmission capacity; transmission and distribution line losses; and environmental value. The DOC may also consider: the cost or benefit of solar operation to the utility; credit for locally manufactured or assembled energy systems; and systems installed at high-value locations on the grid.

Once the tariff methodology is approved by the PUC, affected utilities may offer either the Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) or Net Metering.* The utility must apply for PUC approval, and the PUC may only approve the tariff if it:

  1. Appropriately applies the DOC methodology;
  2. Includes a mechanism to allow recovery of the cost to serve customers receiving the alternative tariff rate;
  3. Charges the customer for all electricity consumed by the customer at the applicable rate schedule;
  4. Credits the customer for all electricity generated by the solar photovoltaic device at the VOST rate;
  5. Applies all charges and credits to a monthly bill, and excess credits carry forward and expire on the last day of February each year;
  6. Complies with net metering size limitations;
  7. Complies with interconnection requirements;
  8. Complies with standby charge requirements.

The tariff rate cannot be less than the retail rate used for net metering until three years after the PUC approves the utility tariff.

  • Utilities that offer a Community Solar Garden program (see Minnesota's Net Metering law) must compensate systems at the VOST rate. Because Xcel is required to offer a Community Solar Garden program, they will be required to offer a VOST.

Incentive Contact

Contact Name General Contact
Department Minnesota Department of Commerce

Address 85 7th Place East
Address 2 Suite 500
Place St. Paul, Minnesota
Zip/Postal Code 55101
Phone (651) 296-4026


Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: H.F. 729

Date Enacted 2013-05-23

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency"