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Minnesota's Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman has ruled that utility Xcel Energy must fully fund its Solar Rewards program, at a cost of $5 million per year, through 2015.

However, the incentive level will be reduced from $2.25/W to $1.50/W, Minnesota Public Radio reports, noting that the commissioner's decision "largely upholds" a recommendation made by the state's Department of Commerce staff earlier this summer.

Xcel had sought to phase out the Solar Rewards program by the end of next year. However, Minnesota's solar businesses have pointed out that the program has been successful in supporting solar installations and manufacturing in the state.

Rothman agreed, noting in a statement that "significant progress has been made in building an infrastructure" to support solar in Minnesota during the last few years while Xcel has provided its Solar Rewards program.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, Xcel Energy is currently reviewing the commissioner's decision.



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