Member Generation & More

With the increasing popularity of renewable energy and distributed energy resources (DER), 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. Members may also be considering battery for back-up power or other technology that will interconnect with our electric utility system.

Stearns Electric Association will work with you to interconnect your own electric generation equipment with our system. We follow the Minnesota statewide standards for interconnection.

Stearns Electric’s Distributed Energy Resource Policy (M-140), sample contract and interconnection process, requirements, application and charges are listed on our NOVA Power Portal to assist you. 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.

For more information, please visit our Nova Power Portal, or contact the Cooperative’s engineering department during regular business hours.

NOVA Power Portal




The Uniform Statewide Contract required to interconnect a distributed energy resource (DER) 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 1, 2015, Minnesota Statute 216B.164 allows electric cooperatives and municipal utilities to charge a fee to recover the fixed costs to serve a distributed energy resource 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 DER Grid Access Fee* to DER 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 energy resource facility, the fee is applied per kW of an installed distributed energy resource 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 DER Grid Access Fee are listed on the co-generation rate schedule found on the NOVA Power Portal.