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Incentive amounts for solar PV installations have been established for the first year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.

Made in Minnesota first incentive amounts set for 2014; staff hired

The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced on Nov. 22 the 2014 incentive amounts for its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, to launch Jan. 1 2014.

Made in Minnesota was one of several initiatives enacted by the 2013 Legislature to increase deployment of solar energy throughout the state. It will help achieve the state’s new solar electricity standard, which calls for 1.5 percent of electric sales from investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) to come from solar electricity by 2020.

The incentives for solar electric systems from the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be available to customers of investor-owned utilities who install solar electric, or solar photovoltaic (PV), systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Modules from two Minnesota companies—tenKsolar and Silicon Energy—have been certified for the program to date. Solar PV systems must be less than 40 kilowatts (kW) to qualify for incentives. Applications will be accepted annually between Jan. 1-Feb. 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery. Applications will be available at the Commerce website beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

Solar Energy Production Incentives

Several factors were used to determine the incentive amounts, including six criteria listed in the Made in Minnesota Solar Energy Production Incentive legislation (Minnesota Statute 216.414). Incentives for PV systems will be performance-based—established by a system’s energy production—and will be paid over 10 years rather than the capacity-based incentives of past programs.

Commercial For Profit Solar Incentive Amounts 

  • tenKsolar Module TKS-FXXXXXXX =  $.13/kWh
  • Silicon Energy Cascade Modules SiE 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, 195, 200, 205 = $.18/kWh

Nonprofit/Government Solar Incentive Amounts 

  • tenKsolar Module TKS-FXXXXXXX = $.20/kWh
  • Silicon Energy Cascade Modules SiE 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, 195, 200, 205 = $.27/kWh

Residential Solar Incentive Amounts

  • tenKsolar Module TKS-FXXXXXXX = $.20/kWh
  • Silicon Energy Cascade Modules SiE 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, 195, 200, 205 = $.27/kWh

The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Department of Commerce with an annual budget of up to $15 million for 10 years, of which $250,000 per year is reserved for solar thermal rebates. About 50 percent of the incentives will go to residential systems and about 50 percent to commercial/nonprofit/government systems. The $15 million a year program is funded through two sources: 5 percent of each public electric utility’s total annual Conservation Improvement Program budget and the Xcel Renewable Development Fund (RDF), with the RDF providing approximately $12 million in the first year.

More information on the Made in Minnesota program is available on the Commerce website. Questions can be directed to the Department of Commerce Energy Information Line: 651-539-1886 or toll free at 1-800-657-3710. 

New staff members were recently hired to implement Made in Minnesota (MiM). They include Kim Havey, MiM solar program coordinator, and Jack Kluempke, solar business advisor. Havey is charged with managing the MiM program and ensuring that incentives reach those who qualify for the program, while Kluempke will work with the business community and serve as a liaison to solar manufacturers and installers.

Prior to joining Commerce and the MiM Solar Incentive Program, Havey was the cofounder and CFO of Sustology, a sustainable design and renewable energy firm. He advised real estate developers and managers on how to improve sustainability and building efficiency. Part of his work included selling, designing, installing and financing solar PV installations. From 1999-2004, he was executive director for the City of Minneapolis Federal Empowerment Zone.

Before joining Commerce, Kluempke was the solar sales and development coordinator for Array Solar, a division of Elk River Winlectric, where he specialized in PV system design and product procurement. He is certified in PV technical sales by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, is a Midwest Renewable Energy Association-certified site assessor in both PV and solar thermal technology, and is a Minnesota Renewable Energy Association instructor in solar site assessment.