community solar

community solar

Electric Cooperatives Connecting Pollinator Conservation and Clean Energy

Connexus Energy Solar Garden

“Butterflies, birds, and bees find a haven at Connexus” proclaimed the email recently sent to all members of Connexus Energy, Minnesota’s largest customer-owned electric cooperative. Connexus’ community solar garden hasn’t just been popular with its members — the site is also benefitting Minnesota’s bumblebees, honeybees, and foraging song birds — and is on the leading edge of a rapidly growing trend.

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Clean Energy

MN regulators adopt first of its kind value of solar rate

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Today, Minnesota regulators adopted a value of solar rate for Xcel Energy’s community solar program – consistent with detailed recommendations made by Fresh Energy. The decision comes after more than a year of work by nonprofits, utilities, solar businesses, and regulators to shape the next phase of Xcel Energy’s community solar program. Though there has been tremendous interest in community solar in Minnesota so far, progress on the solar gardens themselves had been slow. However, we now expect 400 – 450 MW of community solar projects in service by the end of 2017. Today’s decision will apply to the next phase of community solar projects.

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Clean Energy

Regulators approve Minnesota Power’s utility controlled community solar program

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Last week, Minnesota regulators approved a utility controlled community solar program for Minnesota Power, creating new options for utility customers and taking steps to grow the solar market in Northern Minnesota communities. While the program falls short of what Fresh Energy recommended, our coordinated efforts with other energy experts and local advocates improved upon the utility’s initial proposal.

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community solar

188-2: Minnesota Sets Standard for Land Use on Solar Sites

Vegetative Cover on Solar Site

Authored by agriculture leaders, a new law sends a clear signal to the solar industry regarding a preferred practice for use of land on solar sites. State-wide standard will meaningfully help Minnesota’s bees, monarchs, pheasants, and songbirds, by providing abundant, high-quality foraging habitat on solar sites.

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Clean Energy

Statement from Fresh Energy on community solar consumer issues

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“This story is a clear example of the need for tools that consumers can use when exploring their community solar options. At Fresh Energy we recognize those challenges. Based on our knowledge of community solar policy and best practices we have developed a Consumer Friendly Community Solar Rating system and will release it in the next few days. This rating will outline a set of best practices for community solar businesses, with regard to transparency in customer agreements as well as business practices to support access to solar for all. As an independent nonprofit our goal is to create a solar market that works for all Minnesotans, and community solar is one of the best ways to do that. We are committed to providing a clear road map for consumers to follow when navigating this rapidly growing market.

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Clean Energy

Fresh Energy to partner with the Department of Energy on national solar workshop

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Fresh Energy is proud to announce that it will partner with the U.S. Department of Energy to host a National Community Solar Partnership workshop in 2016. Building off of a National Community Solar Summit at the White House on November 17, the workshop will convene solar companies, nonprofits, and state and local community leaders who are working to expand community solar in the Midwest.

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Energy Efficiency

How can the Clean Energy Incentive Program increase low income energy efficiency?

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The Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) is a provision in the Clean Power Plan that awards allowances to states for early action to invest in renewable energy, such as wind and solar, as well as low-income energy efficiency projects. Notably, double credits will be awarded for low-income energy efficiency projects that reduce end-use energy demand in 2020 and 2021. Fresh Energy is urging the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to include participation in the CEIP through five targeted recommendations.

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Clean Energy

Xcel’s community solar turns 1 year old

Worker installing solar panel

Just one year ago, Xcel Energy launched their community solar program, receiving hundreds of proposals for solar gardens on its very first day. What’s happened since then and where do we go from here? Learn more in our 1st birthday analysis of Xcel Energy’s community solar program.

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Clean Energy

Statement on Minnesota’s focus on low-income solar consumers

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“This decision is a very positive step for expanding access to solar in Minnesota. By specifically requesting that solar projects take subscriber pool make-up and financial barriers, such as credit score requirements into account, the state is placing clear emphasis on the need for policies and programs that work for people of all incomes.”

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