Renewable Energy And You

It's important to understand how the interconnection process with the Cooperative works.  To get started, we encourage members to explore the information on this page before calling (507) 367-7091 or emailing DERInterconnect@peoplesenergy.coop

If you're ready to apply, visit the NOVA portal below.

Every year, we share our renewable energy reports. For more information, click on 'Annual Reporting' at the bottom of this page.  Here you will find our Cogeneration and Small Power Production Tariff Report, our Distributed Generation Interconnection Report, and our Qualifying Facilities Report.

Renewable Energy - Getting Started

What do you want to accomplish by investing in renewable energy?  Do you want to know your home is directly powered by renewable energy?  Would you like to see the installation of more renewable energy systems in the upper Midwest?  What if you can't afford the cost of installing your own system, but still want to support renewable energy?

If you want to know your home is directly power by renewable energy, this page of our website has everything you need to know about the process as it relates to the Cooperative.

If you are looking at other options when it comes to renewable energy, you might want to consider Dairyland Power Cooperative's Evergreen program.  Links to information about both of these programs are below.

Evergreen Renewable Energy Program

 

Photovoltaic is a solar power technology that uses arrays of photovoltaic cells to convert light from the sun directly into electricity.  Solar cells produce direct current (DC) electricity from light, which can be used to power DC equipment.  An inverter, which converts DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity, is required to power almost all electricity uses in the home.

We are not tax advisors, however we encourage you to visit these resources to help get you started.

Homeowner's Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics

Renewable Energy Tax Credits on Energystar.gov

Listed below are the available rate schedules associated with distributed energy resources.

These rates are effective May 2023.

Net Energy Billing

Available to any QF of less than 40 kW capacity, connected in parallel with the Cooperative's facilities, that does not select either the Roll Over Credits, Simultaneous Purchase and Sale Billing, or Time of Day rates.

The Cooperative shall bill the QF for the excess of energy supplied by the Cooperative above energy supplied by the QF according to the Cooperative's applicable retail rate schedule.  The Cooperative shall pay the member for the energy generated by the QF that exceeds that supplied by the Cooperative at the Average Retail Cooperative Energy Rate (ARCER) per kWh as follows:

Rate Schedule Type of Service Rate
PG-1 & 901R Residential Service $0.11178/kWh
PG-1B & 901F Small General Service $0.10204/kWh
PB-1C & 901 Medium General Service with Demand $0.06889/kWh

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Distribution Grid Access Fee will be applied monthly as follows:

Rate Schedule Type of Service Per kW Fee in Excess of 3.5kW Max. Monthly Fee Note to Exceed
PG-1 & 901R Residential $2.49/kW $20.00
PG-1B & 901F Small General Service $2.44/kW $24.00
PG-1C & 901 Medium General Service with Demand $1.70/kW $62.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll Over Credits

Available to any QF of less than 40kW, connected in parallel with the Cooperative's facilities, that does not select either Net Energy Billing, Simultaneous Purchase and Sale Billing, or Time of Day rates.

KWh's produced by the QF in excess of the monthly usage shall be supplied as an energy credit on the member's energy bill, carried forward and applied to subsequent energy bills, with an annual true-up on the last day of February.  Excess energy credits existing as of the last day of February shall default back to the Cooperative with no compensation to the QF.

The grid access fee does not apply to this rate.

Time-of-Day Purchase Rate

Available to any QF of 100 kWh capacity or less and available to QFs with capacity of more than 100kW if firm power is provided.  Required for qualified facilities with capacity equal to or greater than 40 kW and less than or equal to 100 kW.

Cooperative shall pay the member for all energy delivered per the current rate schedule for Time-of-Day Purchase rate per kWh for the Cooperative's power supplier from which energy purchases are first avoided.

Rate Schedule Rate
PG-1TOD

Energy Furnished On-Peak*
$0.06740/kWh

Energy Furnished Off-Peak
$0.04359/kWh

 

*Summer on-peak period is June through August, 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday, except on Independence Day.  Winter on-peak period is December through February, 4:00-10:00 PM, Monday through Friday, except Christmas Day and New Year's Day.  The off-peak period is all other times.

 

Credit to Account

Members may request the credit to remain on the account with the Cooperative and be carried forward and applied to subsequent energy bills.  A check will be issued to the member automatically if the account balance is more than a credit of $600.  Credit will only be applied to the primary billing account that the DER system is interconnected to.

Payment by Check

Members may request a monthly payment for excess generation if the credit amount is greater than $25 or, payments will be issued automatically if the account balance is more than a credit of $600.  This will happen within fifteen (15) days of the billing date.

When you install solar panels through Solar$ense, you can reduce up-front costs, meet some or all of your energy needs and receive a monthly energy (kWh) credit on your bill.  To learn more, click below.

Informational Sheet

Rebate Form

The following are renewable energy development companies who members have worked with to install and interconnect to People's Energy Cooperative.

Renewable Energy Development Companies

Clean Energy Resource Teams also has a resource to research installers on their website.

Clean Energy Resource Teams

Our friends at Touchstone Energy Cooperatives has put together an informational handout with answers to that question.

Questions to Ask a Solar Contractor

Solar Panel Terminology

Alternating current (AC): A type of electrical current, the direction of which is reversed at regular intervals or cycles.

Angle of Incidence: The angle that a ray of sun makes with a line perpendicular to the surface. For example, a surface that directly faces the sun has a solar angle of incidence of zero, but if the surface is parallel to the sun (for example, sunrise striking a horizontal rooftop), the angle of incidence is 90°.

Array: A solar array is a collection of solar panels wired together to create the desired energy output. The typical residential solar array consists of 20–25 solar panels to cover 100% of its energy consumption.

Azimuth: The direction that your roof faces (in the context of solar). The azimuth is measured in degrees, representing the angle between your roof and true north.

Bypass diode: A diode connected across one or more solar cells in a photovoltaic module such that the diode will conduct if the cell(s) become reverse biased. It protects these solar cells from thermal destruction in case of total or partial shading of individual solar cells while other cells are exposed to full light.

Cells: The smallest semiconductor element within a PV module to perform the immediate conversion of light into electrical energy (direct current voltage and current). Also called a solar cell.

Conductor: The material through which electricity is transmitted, such as an electrical wire, or transmission or distribution line.

Direct current (DC): A type of electricity transmission and distribution by which electricity flows in one direction through the conductor, usually relatively low voltage and high current. To be used for typical 120 volt or 220 volt household appliances, DC must be converted to alternating current, its opposite.

Disconnect: Switch gear used to connect or disconnect components in a photovoltaic system.

Electrical grid: An integrated system of electricity distribution, usually covering a large area.

Electrode: A conductor that is brought in conducting contact with a ground.

Fixed tilt array: A photovoltaic array set in at a fixed angle with respect to horizontal.

Gigawatt (GW): A unit of power equal to 1 billion Watts; 1 million kilowatts, or 1,000 megawatts.

Grid-tied System: A solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) system in which the PV array acts like a central generating plant, supplying power to the grid.

Interconnection: Interconnection is what allows power to be transmitted between two parties—a utility provider and an end-user, for instance, or two separate utility companies. Linked transmission lines let power move back and forth in either direction. In relation to renewable power specifically, interconnection refers to the process of connecting renewable technologies to the larger electrical grid.

Inverter: A solar inverter converts direct current (DC) power to alternating current (AC) electricity, either for individual solar panels or for grid-connected solar power systems. DC power produced by a solar array must be converted to AC electricity so it can be used in household appliances — without an inverter, the energy from your solar panels cannot easily be put to use. There are three basic types of inverters: microinverters, string inverters, and central inverters.

Junction box: A photovoltaic (PV) generator junction box is an enclosure on the module where PV strings are electrically connected and where protection devices can be located, if necessary.

Junction diode: A semiconductor device with a junction and a built-in potential that passes current better in one direction than the other. All solar cells are junction diodes.

Kilowatt (kW): A standard unit of electrical power equal to 1000 watts, or to the energy consumption at a rate of 1000 joules per second.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh): 1,000 thousand watts acting over a period of 1 hour. The kWh is a unit of energy. 1 kWh=3600 kJ.

Load: The demand on an energy producing system; the energy consumption or requirement of a piece or group of equipment. Usually expressed in terms of amperes or watts in reference to electricity.

Megawatt (Mw): 1,000 kilowatts, or 1 million watts; standard measure of electric power plant generating capacity.

Megawatt-hour: 1,000 kilowatt-hours or 1 million watt-hours.

Meter: This is what monitors the energy production of your home solar system. You’re probably familiar with the traditional meter, but if you get solar panels, you’ll need a bi-directional or digital meter.

Module: Also called solar panels, a solar module is a single photovoltaic panel that is an assembly of connected solar cells. The solar cells absorb sunlight as a source of energy to generate electricity. An array of modules are used to supply power to buildings.

Multicrystalline: A semiconductor (photovoltaic) material composed of variously oriented, small, individual crystals. Sometimes referred to as polycrystalline or semicrystalline.

Orientation: Placement with respect to the cardinal directions, N, S, E, W; azimuth is the measure of orientation from north.

Panel: When solar cells are wired together to generate larger amounts of power — typically in a bundle of 36-40 cells — they form a solar panel.

Peak Demand: The maximum energy demand or load in a specified time period.

Peak Sun Hours: Not to be confused with an hour of daylight, one peak sun hour is one hour’s worth of sunshine at an irradiance of 1 kilowatt per square meter (kW/m2). Peak sun hours, measured as kilowatt-hours per square meter (kWh/m2), are influenced by the time of day, the season, the presence of clouds, and geographic location. Even though solar panels may receive eight hours of partial sunlight in a given day, that may average out to only three or four peak sun hours.

Photon: A particle of light that acts as an individual unit of energy.

Photovoltaic (PV):  Pertaining to the direct conversion of light into electricity.

Polycrystalline silicon: A material used to make photovoltaic cells, which consist of many crystals unlike single-crystal silicon.

Power rating: Represents the theoretical power output of a solar panel in ideal conditions. While power rating is a good indicator of quality, most solar panels don’t experience ideal conditions for more than a few moments.

Solar energy: Electromagnetic energy transmitted from the sun (solar radiation).

String: A number of photovoltaic modules or panels interconnected electrically in series to produce the operating voltage required by the load.

System availability: The percentage of time (usually expressed in hours per year) when a photovoltaic system will be able to fully meet the load demand.

Temperature coefficient:  Represents how well a solar panel can perform in high-heat conditions. As with all electronics, high heat can negatively affect solar panel performance.

Thin film: A layer of semiconductor material, such as copper indium diselenide or gallium arsenide, a few microns or less in thickness, used to make photovoltaic cells.

Tilt angle: The angle at which a photovoltaic array is set to face the sun relative to a horizontal position. The tilt angle can be set or adjusted to maximize seasonal or annual energy collection.

Tracking array: A photovoltaic (PV) array that follows the path of the sun to maximize the solar radiation incident on the PV surface. The two most common orientations are (1) one axis where the array tracks the sun east to west and (2) two-axis tracking where the array points directly at the sun at all times. Tracking arrays use both the direct and diffuse sunlight. Two-axis tracking arrays capture the maximum possible daily energy.

Transformer: An electromagnetic device that changes the voltage of alternating current electricity.

Watt: The rate of energy transfer equivalent to one ampere under an electrical pressure of one volt. One watt equals 1/746 horsepower, or one joule per second. It is the product of voltage and current (amperage).

 

Renewable Energy - Application Questions

The State of Minnesota currently has interconnection process standards in effect to address the interconnection of distributed energy resources (DER) to the distribution grid.  Our interconnection process document is broken into five parts: Process Overview, Simplified Process, Fast Track Process, Study Process and Interconnection Agreement.  Click below to learn more.

Interconnection Process Overview

Effective May 2023, all new DER interconnection applications will be charged a $535 interconnection fee on their Uniform Contract.  Additional fees may be charged above the $535 fee when the interconnection requires more resources and/or Cooperative-supplied equipment than an standard interconnection.  These fees will need to be paid in full before the interconnection will be scheduled.

Please note that PEC collects a Distribution Generation Grid Access Fee on new or expanded distributed generation systems (wind, solar, etc.) interconnected to the Cooperative's electric system in accordance with Minnesota Statute 261B.164.  Systems interconnected with PEC prior to May 1, 2016, are not affected unless capacity is added.  Additional capacity will be subject to the fee.

The documents listed below will specifically help you with the interconnection process.  If you have questions regarding these documents, please contact the Cooperative by calling 800-214-2694.

Chapter 9, Interconnection Process Overview

People's Energy Cooperative Electric Service Guide

Line Diagram Example

Site Plan Example

Technical Specifications Manual

These three documents will be most helpful during construction of your distributed energy resource.  If you have questions regarding these documents, please contact the Cooperative by calling 800-214-2694.

People's Energy Cooperative Electric Service Guide

Technical Interconnection & Interoperability Requirements (TIIR)

Technical Specifications Manual (TSM)

To help understand the milestone workflow, please reference the document below.

Milestone Workflow Chart

To commission the distributed energy resource, the following documents must be complete.

  1. Certification of Completion - example
  2. Proof of Insurance
  3. Form W9
  4. Proof of Electrical Inspection

To schedule the commissioning, please contact the following:

Phone: (507) 367-7058
E-mail: derinterconnect@peoplesenergy.coop

Renewable Energy - After Installation

Credit to Account

Members may request the credit to remain on the account with the Cooperative and be carried forward and applied to subsequent energy bills.  A check will be issued to the member automatically if the account balance is more than a credit of $600.

Payment by Check

Members may request a monthly payment for excess generation if the credit amount is greater than $25 or, payments will be issued automatically if the account balance is more than a credit of $600.  This will happen within fifteen (15) days of the billing date.

Roll Over Credits

KWh's produced by the QF in excess of the monthly usage shall be supplied as an energy credit on the member's energy bill, carried forward and applied to subsequent energy bills, with an annual true-up on the last day of February.  Excess energy credits existing after the last day of February shall default back to the Cooperative with no compensation to the QF.

The grid access fee does not apply to this rate.

For available rate schedules and billing options, please see above in 'Renewable Energy - Getting Started.'

 

NOVA Power Portal

For any member interested in installing their own distributed energy resource such as a solar array or wind turbine, you must apply through the NOVA Power Portal.  

Solar$ense Incentive Program

When you install solar panels through Solar$ense, you can reduce up-front costs, meet some or all of your energy needs and receive a monthly energy (kWh) credit on your bill. To learn more, click below.

Informational Sheet

2024 Rebate Form