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Net Metering Policy Development in Minnesota: Overview of Trends in Nationwide Policy Development and Implications of Increasing the Eligible System Size Cap

Research or Whitepaper
Net Energy Metering   
This study was conducted to compare Minnesota’s policies to national best practices. It provides an overview of the current Minnesota policy in the context of these best practices and other jurisdictions’ net metering policies, as well as a qualitative assessment of the impacts of raising the system size cap within the policy based on the experiences of other states. The report finds that increasing the cap may move the state toward its goal of providing the maximum possible encouragement to distributed generation assets, including a larger average size of solar PV systems and a broader array of stakeholders. Quantitative evaluation of the policy changes are necessary to better understand the quantitative impacts on all interested parties (e.g. utility, ratepayers, project developers). The report also finds, however, that most states that have increased the size limits have not developed such cost/benefit studies before raising the limit. Reasons cited include the increase being a legislative action and/or the lack of data and financial resources to perform such a study. Program implementers in these states do not report negative impacts on ratepayers as result of the increase in system size limit. This is likely the result of the small relative impact of the systems on the larger utility grids.  Implementers cite the lack of data, resulting from the changes in net metering being recent at this stage, as a limitation in quantifying the benefits and costs of expanded net metering system size caps.