Skip Navigation

The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

US Department Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
IREC North Carolina Solar Center
Home Glossary Links FAQs Contact About Twitter    Facebook


Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Value of Solar Tariff   

Last DSIRE Review: 01/05/2015
Program Overview:
State: Minnesota
Incentive Type: Net Metering
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Local Government, State Government, Agricultural
Applicable Utilities:Investor-owned utilities
System Capacity Limit:1 MW
Aggregate Capacity Limit:Not specified
Net Excess Generation:Credited to customer's next bill; eliminated at end of 12-month billing cycle on the last day of February
REC Ownership:Utility owns RECs
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Minn. Stat. ยง 216B.164, Subd. 10

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) in the Community Solar Gardens Program. Customers of a municipal utility or rural electric cooperative are ineligible for this program. No utility has yet adopted the Value of Solar Tariff rate, and are charging customers at the applicable retail rate.

As required by H.F. 729, the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) developed a distributed solar value methodology and submitted it to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval on January 31, 2014. 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. A utility must enter into a contract with an owner of a photovoltaic system for a term of at least 20 years. The owner will be compensated at the same rate per kilowatt-hour for the duration of the contract. 

* A utility that offers a Community Solar Garden program (see Minnesota's Net Metering law) must compensate systems at the VOST rate if a VOST rate is approved for that utility. 

  General Contact
Minnesota Department of Commerce
85 7th Place East
Suite 500
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 296-4026
Web Site:
NCSU - home
Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.