Who’s offering community solar

to Xcel Energy residential

customers in Minnesota?

Able Energy Co.

Cooperative Energy Futures

Innovative Power Systems

MN Community Solar

Novel Energy Solutions

NRG Home Solar


Sundial Solar



Note: Community solar is open to business, government and institutional customers. But this list covers only residential offerings; companies with * have not released details.

Types of payment plans


• Monthly payment based on kilowatt-hour solar output, with annual escalator percentage.

• Monthly payment based on a guaranteed discount to Xcel’s rates (9 percent to 10 percent)

• Monthly flat payment, similar to paying off a loan.

Pay upfront

• Single payment of thousands of dollars, similar to installing your own rooftop solar.

• If customer gets a third-party loan, this is similar to flat-rate pay-as-you-go.

Questions to ask

• What is the company’s track record, past projects?

• Does company have an approved grid interconnection?

• What happens if the project isn’t finished in 2016?

• What are the transfer terms, especially if I move from Xcel’s region or die?

• What are my remedies if the solar garden consistently under-produces?

• What is the price, annual escalator, if any, and method used to estimate savings?

Things to watch for

• Keep checking Xcel’s website for updates, especially for the release of names of grid-approved projects.

• Carefully examine “buy now, or lose out” pitches. But be aware that solar gardens built after 2016 may be less lucrative because of federal tax policy.

• Comparing the cost of pay-as-you-go community solar may require looking at two variables — the initial price and the annual escalator.

More information

CERTS: The University of Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams has a consumer-focused webpage with links to its Microsoft Excel comparison tool and a separate page listing community solar projects, including some for utilities other than Xcel.

Xcel: The utility’s Solar Rewards Community website offers FAQs, an e-mail list sign-up and other details. A downloadable list of queued projects has blanks under the developer names because of the solar industry’s insistence on trade secrecy.