Rochester Public Utilities

Rochester Public Utilities

Solar Energy Information Hub 

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) is the largest municipal utility in Minnesota and serves approximately 52,000 electric customers. RPU is currently experiencing a very limited demand for interconnections with a small customer base as compared to large Investor Owned Utilities, although they do have rebates in place for new distributed generation (DG) installations. The current process is very thorough, and requires close collaboration between RPU and Building Safety. This system ensures that Distributed Generation facilities in Rochester adhere to all necessary codes and permits before starting construction and that the safety and operating procedures of the utility crews are not compromised. This method of application processing can be supported due to the low volume of applications received each year.

RPU is subject to Minnesota’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS requires that 25% of energy come from renewable sources by 2025. Although RPU is not required to meet a solar carve out, the RPU board has publicly stated the intent to meet the 6% target within the RPS goal. Interconnection applications, particularly for residential solar, are expected to climb in the coming years with a decrease in technology costs and expansion of the federal income tax credit. While the existing solar enrollment process has proven to be effective for current application volumes, resources and departments may become overwhelmed with increased penetration. RPU can improve their scalability by providing more online information for customers and contractors, as well as improving their application tracking practices.

Customers Served (as of December, 2015)

  • Serves 52,000 customers
  • As of December 2015, 51 residential and 12 commercial for a total of 63 interconnection applications had been received

Roadmap

These roadmap goals are based on attributes of utilities with successful solar programs nationwide, along with input from industry experts. Each goal represents a step toward making solar easier and more cost effective for all customers within your service territory. Your specific roadmap has been customized using a subset of the entire compilation of attributes, based on what is relevant for publicly owned utilities in your region.

Expand each focus area below to show its related goals, and click the 'Take Action' button to access the relevant resources designed to help you achieve these goals.

showInformation Access

Current Progress:
0 of 3 goals achieved
0%
Planned

[IA1] Create more written materials for distribution regarding solar and the enrollment process to reduce time spent addressing customer questions and concerns(0)

An FAQ guide is available to customers upon request

Create more written materials for distribution that explain solar energy, interconnections, and net metering, including an FAQ. Post this material online to reduce time spent addressing customer questions and concerns.

[IA3] Create an online application checklist(0)

No application checklist currently exists, and some applications are submitted with incomplete or incorrect information

Create a checklist that acts as a step-by-step guide to help fill-out the interconnection application and upload to the RPU website

[IA4] Provide standardized inspection checklist(0)

No inspection checklist currently exists

Create an inspection checklist for all onsite inspections and upload to the RPU website

showApplication Tracking and Management

Current Progress:
0 of 1 goals achieved
0%
Planned

[AT1] Create option for customers to submit applications online for ease(0)

Application materials may be submitted via email, in person, or mail

Adopt tool that allows for online submission of applications, and utilize software to allow customer to track applications in real-time and to inform them of any necessary updates.

showDistributed Generation Database

Current Progress:
0 of 2 goals achieved
0%
Planned

[DGD1] Create one centralized location to store data from all systems(0)

Application information is not electronically stored in a database

Creating one centralized location to store data from all systems. This database could be integrated with the mapping tools to automate as much of the system as possible.

[DGD2] Integrate database with online application and mapping tools(0)

Application information is not electronically stored

Utilize software that interfaces with electronic application submission tool and mapping tools to store and track solar application information.

Resources