In March 2014, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a “value of solar” policy. It may fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities and their energy-producing customers. It may also serve as a precedent for setting a transparent, market-based price for solar energy. This report explains the origins of value of solar, the compromises made to get the policy adopted in Minnesota, and the potential impact on utilities and solar energy producers.
Read our blog series on Minnesota’s value of solar
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- Avoiding the purchase of energy from other, polluting sources
- Avoiding the need to build additional power plant capacity to meet peak energy needs
- Providing energy for decades at a fixed price
- Reducing wear and tear on the electric grid, including power lines, substations, and power plants
Value of solar is not like net metering, where producing energy reduces your electricity bill just like turning off a light. Fig. A illustrates the difference between net metering and value of solar in Minnesota. It also highlights a few key features of the adopted value of solar policy, including the 25-year contract, and the use of bill credits rather than a separate cash payment.