Is your proposed project 40 kW or larger?
- If yes: Contact MVEC at 952-492-2313 or email to speak with a Team Member about the details of your project.
- If not: Read on for pertinent information to get your project started
Minnesota Valley Electric is here to support you with your solar-related inquiries, projects, and questions. We offer member-focused programs, ensuring you the options needed to align your system with the products you may want to support behind your meter.
MVEC does not sell solar equipment, and solar vendors are not affiliated with MVEC. Be sure to investigate the needed due diligence on the economic benefits, legal issues, zoning regulations, maintenance, and operating costs of your project. There is more to solar than just installing the panels, and members should seek vendor references before purchasing.
The State Board of Electricity requires renewable energy sources to be installed by a qualified licensed electrician, and MVEC requires members to apply to connect to its electric lines. The installation must meet the State of Minnesota Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards through a witness test.
Q: What do I need to do to connect to MVEC’s power grid?
A. Follow the steps through the NOVA Power Portal. If you have any questions after reviewing the attached documentation, please get in touch with us.
Q: What is the NOVA Power Portal?
A. The NOVA Power Portal is a tool that many cooperatives, including MVEC, use to store Documents, Track Application Progress, and communicate with Solar Vendors. MVEC uses the NOVA portal to manage everything from application submission, reviewing of the application, contract signing, and more.
Q: I’m not familiar with some of the language used by the utility or the Solar Agent. Where can I learn more?
A. For a detailed breakdown of several terms used, see the glossary in section 13 of the “Process Overview” document via the NOVA Portal. Looking through this document is an excellent way to gain an understanding of what is involved in installing a new solar system. A glossary of terms is listed at the end of the Process Overview document, in section 13.
Q: If the utility’s power is out, will my power stay on?
A. No, since the system is interconnected to the MVEC grid, it will automatically shut down in the absence of utility power. This can be avoided by using a battery to store power on the system separate from the panels. (NOTE: Use of a battery system will discontinue off-peak programs. The decision of which system to use will ultimately be up to the member.)
Q: Is there a limit to how much solar I can install on my system?
A. 39.9 kW is the limit of production to keep the net meter rate. If you plan to install 40 kW or more, please review the documentation in the Nova Power Portal and Contact MVEC for more information.
Q: What are the current rates for the energy I produce with my solar system?
A. For current rate schedule information, please see the “Cogeneration Rate Schedule” document in the Nova Power Portal.
Q: Why does the average rate change from source to source?
A. The rate that a solar installer gets on their solar is heavily influenced by where the Solar System is installed. For instance, Minnesota will have a lower average rate than a state like California with more plentiful sun and higher electric costs.
Q: Are there any fees that MVEC collects?
A. Yes, there are. MVEC collects an Application Fee as well as Interconnection Fees, both of which can be found in the Nova Power Portal.
- For Application Fees, please review the Process Overview document in the NOVA Portal.
- For Interconnection Fees, please refer to the “Cogeneration Rate Schedule” document in the NOVA Portal.
Q: How much of the Energy that MVEC distributes is “green energy”?
A. MVEC’s energy portfolio is regularly evolving. Below is the total breakout of MVEC’s power mix portfolio as of 2022:
Before Buying Solar:
Before purchasing solar, there are several questions you’ll want to ask yourself:
- Do you want a system that provides all your power needs or do you want supplemental energy generation to reduce the amount of power you buy from the grid?
- How long do you plan to live in this house? What happens between you and the contractor if you sell your house and you have signed a long-term contract with the solar contractor?
- Decide how much are you willing to spend.
Choosing a Contractor:
Once you’ve decided to move forward with solar, deciding on a contractor is the next step. Solar contractors are keys to the system as they locate, procure, construct, and warranty the system. Below are some things to keep in mind when seeking out the right solar system for you.
- Find out how much each contractor charges, and if any state or federal tax credits will help reduce your out-of-pocket cost.
- Remember that the output of a renewable energy system is highly dependent on the weather and therefore will not generate its full potential all the time.
- How long will the system take to pay for itself and are you comfortable with that time frame?
- Your payback estimates should include local weather data as well as regional electricity prices.
- Ask your contractor about system upkeep and warranty issues.
- Check out the manufacturer and contractor’s references. Ask about and visit other local installations and talk to the owners. See what lessons they learned and what they have to say about system performance.
- Do not sign anything or pay any money until you are completely comfortable with the contract and contractor – just as you would if you were purchasing a home, a car, or hiring for a different home project.
refer to the documentation listed in the NOVA Portal
(Start with the Process Overview Document)
- Work with your Solar Agent or electrician to fill out and submit the Interconnection Application in the NOVA Portal. This application concerns information on the member and the DER system to be installed.
- MVEC will begin the initial application review and ensure the provided information and documentation are accurate and meet our interconnection requirements.
- Once all information and documentation meet MVEC requirements, applications will be passed to PE for final approval. PE will have the final say on the acceptance status of the application and decide if a transformer upgrade is necessary.
- Upon application approval, MVEC will draw up and send out a contract for the co-generation agreement. The member is required to sign and return the contract to MVEC via NOVA Portal upload.
- Once the contract has been signed and the related interconnection fees have been paid, a witness test may be scheduled to ensure that installed equipment complies with MVEC standards and functions as required.
- Following interconnection to MVEC’s grid, approval to operate will be given after the submittal of the Certificate of Completion to the NOVA Portal by the member/agent.
- Is solar right for you?
- 10 steps to take before installing solar
- How to estimate a personal solar plan
- How many hours of sun do you get?
- Alternative solutions to save money and protect the environment
- Learn about the procedures for installing member-Owned Wind or Solar Generation using the Nova Power Portal
- The Inflation Reduction Act is new legislation that offers benefits to invest in clean energy production.
- Find an Inflation Reduction Act guidebook and more Minnesota-specific resources at Clean Energy Resource Team (CERTs)
- Want a simpler solution? Consider MVEC GreenSource renewable energy options
Notice of Cogeneration
The Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative Board of Directors adopted the Cooperative Minnesota Distributed Energy Resource Interconnection process, which was updated by the State of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Minnesota Statute 216B.1611 states cooperatives shall adopt an interconnection process that addresses the issues addressed in the Commission’s order. MVEC’s updated Cogeneration Policy reflects the adoption of the Cooperative Minnesota Distribution Energy Resources Interconnection Process (C-MIP). All new distributed energy resources will follow the C-MIP interconnection process as of June 1, 2019.
In compliance with MVEC-adopted rules relating to cogeneration and small power production, MVEC is obligated to interconnect with and purchase electricity from co-generators and small power producers who satisfy the conditions as a qualifying facility. MVEC is obligated to provide information free of charge to all interested members upon request regarding rates and interconnection requirements. All interconnections require an application and approval to become a qualifying facility. Any dispute over interconnections, sales, and purchases is subject to resolution by MVEC.