Section 1 [Solar energy standard] makes the current solar energy standard of at least ten percent of the 1.5 percent goal to be met by solar energy from solar photovoltaic devices with a nameplate capacity of 20 kilowatts or less applicable to a public utility with more than 200,000 retail electric customers (applies to Xcel Energy only). Requires a public utility with between 50,000 and 200,000 retail electric customers (applies to Otter Tail Power and Minnesota Power) to meet at least ten percent of the 1.5 percent goal with solar energy from solar photovoltaic devices with a nameplate capacity of 40 kilowatts or less. Allows individual customer subscriptions of 40 kilowatts or less to a community solar garden program operated by the public utility to apply toward that goal.
Section 2 [Resource plan filing and approval] requires a utility, when filing a resource plan with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), to include the least cost plan for meeting 50 and 75 percent of all energy needs from both new and refurbished generating facilities (instead of capacity needs) through a combination of conservation and renewable energy resources. This section has an effective date of the day following final enactment, but would apply only to resource plans filed on or after July 1, 2017.
Section 3 [Preference for renewable energy facility] includes additional factors that the PUC must consider when making a public interest determination for approval or rate recovery for new or refurbished nonrenewable energy facilities. Requires the PUC to also consider impacts on local and regional grid reliability, utility and ratepayer impacts resulting from the intermittent nature of renewable energy facilities, and other utility and ratepayer impacts, in addition to the greenhouse gas reduction goals and the renewable energy and solar energy standards already required.