In 2004 the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC or Commission) approved a set of interconnection standards in PUC Docket 16-521. In 2016 the Commission reexamined the old Interconnection Standards, and established new ones based on the Standard Generation Interconnection & Procedures (SGIP), which were dissembled by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Throughout the process at the Commission, MnSEIA advocated for the solar industry's position on interconnection standards, which are Phase I of the process, and the Technical Standards in Phase II of the effort. Our work and insight helped Commission staff develop a new set of standards, now titled the Minnesota Distributed Energy Resources Interconnection Process (MN DIP). We continued to help craft those standards through notice and comment periods as they were implemented in June of 2019.
Because the interconnection standards are a “living document,”the MN DIP will be revisited and tweaked in the Fall of 2020, based on feedback from the industry and from the utilities. The Distributed Generation Working Group (DGWG), in which MnSEIA is an active participant, was initiated by the PUC as a formal body to provide relevant input to documents like MN DIP. The DGWG will revisit MN DIP timelines in September, and then compliance mechanisms in October.
Throughout the Spring and Summer of 2020, MnSEIA has advocated in front of the Commission for greater accountability from Xcel—and, potentially, other utilities—to solar customers, installers, and developers. In Docket 12-383 the Commission will determine whether solar customers are eligible to make formal customer service complaints about the utility. Xcel faces a significant fine for not meeting its Quality of Service Tariff in 2019, following the implementation of MN DIP.
As the Commission moves toward Phase III of the MN DIP process, which will determine the Distributed Generation tariff, MnSEIA will advocate policies that produce scalable, broadly implementable processes that value distributed generation appropriately. MnSEIA filed a motion to examine whether utilities were meeting the guidelines of the DG Tariff—and has argued that they are not—in 2018. The Commission has called for further Comments on the subject this Fall.