Distributed Generation

With the increasing popularity of renewable energy, many members want to learn more about installing their own solar or wind generation system as a way to save money and protect the environment.
 

Stearns Electric Association will help you to interconnect your own electric generation equipment with our system, referred to as Distributed Generation (DG). We follow the Minnesota statewide standards for interconnection. There are policies, applications, forms and contracts available to assist you in this process. Your safety and the safety of our employees is of the utmost importance, therefore all interconnection applications are contingent on the equipment and interconnection obtaining certification from a State of Minnesota licensed state electrical inspector. Advanced planning is required and it is highly recommended that you contact us at the beginning of your planning process to assist with your project.
 

Resources for members interested in installing a solar or wind system with inverters that produce less than 40kW are located below. Please contact our Distributed Generation Coordinator, James Pachan, at (320) 256-4241 with questions.

 

Notice to Distributed Generation Facilities
Interconnected after April 1st, 2016:  

The Uniform Statewide Contract required to interconnect a distributed generation qualifying facility provides notice to the member owner that rates may change over the time of the contract due to action of the cooperative or the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Rates as defined by Minnesota Statute 216B.02 include every charge, fare, fee and classification collected by the utility in providing the service. As of July 1st, 2015, Minnesota Statute 216B.164 allows electric cooperatives and municipal utilities to charge a fee to recover the fixed costs to serve a distributed generation qualifying facility. The recovery of fixed costs through a fee or other charges to recover the cooperative’s cost of providing service is part of the rate structure of the cooperative that may change over time.

Stearns Electric Association will begin charging a DG Grid Access Fee* to DG qualifying facilities having a nameplate rating over 3.5 kW that interconnect after April 1, 2016. The fee is calculated, based on the MREA Working Group recommendations and uses a cost of service approach based on the true cost of serving the member, the kWh rate, and the current fixed charge. Because the cost shift is different based on the size of the distributed generation facility, the fee is applied per kW of installed distributed generation that exceeds 3.5 kW. In addition to a 3.5 kW allowance there is also a not-to-exceed or capped dollar amount associated with the fee.

 

Details of the 2018 DG Grid Access Fee are listed below:

First 3.5 kW (nameplate rating) – No Charge
kW in Excess of 3.5 kW – $2.40 per kW
Not-to-Exceed (cap) – $22.00

Distributed Generation Resources: