Xcel Energy eyes 150MW RFP

A unit of Xcel Energy has submitted a plan to Minnesota regulators to acquire up to 150MW of large-scale solar resources by the end of 2016, and would like to add another 150MW by 2020.

Northern States Power Company – Minnesota has notified the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission of its intent to issue a request for proposals by 15 April.

Xcel Energy is proposing that a significant portion of Minnesota’s solar standard be met through large-scale projects, which are more efficient and less expensive than rooftop solar and smaller distributed systems.

The projects would be eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC) which reduces federal income taxes for qualified tax-paying owners based on capital investment in solar projects. The credit is earned when the equipment is placed into service.

“We plan to leverage the economies of large-scale systems to keep the cost as low as possible for customers,”says Northern States Power chief executive Dave Sparby.

Governor Mark Dayton last year signed a law that requires investor-owned utilities to acquire 1.5% of retail electricity sales from solar energy by 2020. Xcel Energy estimates that it will need approximately 300MW of solar capacity to meet the standard.

Xcel Energy plans to propose a second round of large-scale solar acquisition in 2017 or 2018 to acquire the necessary solar resources to ensure compliance with the standard by 2020.

Company officials expect that approximately one-third of Minnesota’s 2020 solar requirement will be met through new customer offerings and solar projects receiving funding through the company’s Renewable Development Fund.  

“We look forward to working with large-scale solar project developers and our rooftop customers to grow solar energy in Minnesota in a safe, cost-efficient manner,” Sparby adds.