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About community solar

Community solar enables you to use solar power to save money on your electric bills without installing panels on your home. With community solar, you can subscribe to a "share" of an offsite solar energy generating system. By subscribing to a community solar project you will pay for the amount of electricity generated by your share of the community solar system to the array owner and receive credits off your utility bill for the amount of electricity your share of the community solar system produces.

Aboutcommunitysolardiagram

How it works

Customers subscribe to a community solar electricity generating system.


Subscribers pay the developer (which manages the system) an up front fee or monthly charge for the electricity produced by their share.


Subscribers receive credits off their utility bill for the amount of electricity generated by their portion of the community solar system.

Who can participate

Who can participate NOTE: There are 30+ utilities in Minnesota that offer community solar options for electric customers. We are expanding our website to include more utilities as our capacity allows. Currently, we are supporting only Xcel Energy’s community solar program. Check back for more updates. All Xcel Energy customers including:

  • Renters
  • Homeowners
  • Businesses
  • Non-profits
  • Municipalities

Customers must live in the same county as the community solar project, or a county adjacent to the project.

Community solar billing

ABOUT ELECTRICITY BILLS

When you purchase kilowatt-hours from your community solar provider you receive credits for those same kilowatt-hours on your utility bill. The credit on your utility bill for each kilowatt-hour will be at the full retail electricity rate you would have paid your utility for that energy. This means that you are saving money if you are paying less than that rate to your community solar provider.

More About How Billing Works

Subscription types

The value of the electricity produced by a subscriber's community solar share is equal to the value of electricity that would otherwise be bought directly from your utility. The type of subscription you have will vary by project and provider. Each will have different terms that determine how much you pay for the energy, whether that cost goes up over time, and other important considerations explained below in the subscriber agreements section.

EXAMPLE SUBSCRIPTION TYPES

Fixed rate (kWh)

Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you purchase from the developer is at a fixed rate for the life of your contract.

Escalating rate (kWh)

Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you purchase from the developer is at a fixed rate to start but the cost goes up at a fixed rate yearly.

Percentage discount (kWh)

Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you purchase from the developer is a fixed percentage below the cost of utility energy but may rise with the cost of utility energy over time.

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Subscriber agreement

You should carefully review the subscriber agreement before subscribing to a community solar array. Your agreement should address things like the cost of the subscription, the length of the contract, termination fees, and more.

SUBSCRIBER AGREEMENT CONSIDERATION

Agreement terms

Subscriber agreements can last up to 25 years but vary by provider. Key agreement terms include:

  • Subscription type
  • Contract length
  • Additional fees
  • Start date
  • Date project goes into service

Exit provisions

There are many ways you can exit or transfer a subscriber agreement. Some may have fees. Key exit provisions include:

  • Transfer to someone else
  • Move within territory
  • Move out of territory
  • No fault exit (death, disability, etc.)
  • Other exit
More About Subscriber Agreements