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Assessing Minnesota's Solar Resource: Revenue Implications of Solar PV System Orientation and Rate Structure

Research or Whitepaper
This paper examines the revenue implications of various system orientations and rate structures for commercial-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems co-located with a building load.  This study uses several modeling tools developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to model PV system revenue for a single system in Minnesota modeled with six different orientations and with each orientation exposed to five different rate structures. The rate structures examined include several rates currently available from the utility territory from which solar radiation data were collected in addition to a hypothetical rate based on wholesale market prices from the Minnesota Hub within the Midwest Independent System Operator (ISO) for the same time period. The study also estimates the capacity contribution of PV resources to load in the Midwest ISO West region and estimates the monetary value of that capacity.