Despite its pride in having the nation’s largest community solar program––shown by the massive poster on its headquarters front doors (the above photo)––Xcel Energy can often be caught complaining (erroneously) that utility-owned solar would be more cost-effective. In the following analysis, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance explains why Minnesota’s community solar program has actually saved Xcel Energy customers millions of dollars already.
Comparing Cost and Value
Value is the key word in deciphering whether Minnesota’s community solar program is cost-effective. In a 2013 statute, Minnesota established a “value of solar” to measure the value of energy produced by distributed solar projects, connected close to where customers use energy. The chart below shows that value calculation in each year since it was adopted.