- Xcel Energy’s request for proposals (RFP) for 100 megawatts of new solar will dramatically increase Minnesota’s installed solar capacity over from its present twelve megawatts at about 730 rooftop sites.
- The RFP, for commercial-industrial and utility scale installations of five megawatts and over, will move the Xcel about one-third of the way toward compliance with the Minnesota's Solar Energy Standard mandating its utilities get 1.5% of their power from solar by 2020.
- The proposals must be submitted to Xcel and reviewed in time for regulatory approval of the twenty year power purchase agreements this fall so construction can be completed before the 30% federal investment tax credit drops to 10% after December 31, 2016.
This new round of solar development will be an opportunity for Xcel to demonstrate if it will use Minnesota’s newly instituted Value of Solar Tariff or revert to the familiar net energy metering policy.
The RFP is expected to drive competition between Minnesota developers, including Sunrise Energy, Ecos Energy, and Geronimo Energy. Ecos Energy last year interconnected a two megawatt installation through Xcel, which is presently the state’s biggest project.
In keeping with its resistance to rooftop solar, Xcel expects larger central station projects to provide about two-thirds of the solar standard-mandated 270 to 300 megawatts of capacity.