The Minnesota legislature established a solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal incentive program for consumers who install PV and solar thermal systems using solar modules and collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. The program is administered by the Department of Commerce with an annual budget of up to $15 million for ten years, including $250,000 per year for solar thermal rebates. The program is funded with 5% of each public electric utility’s total annual Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) budget. The Xcel Renewable Development Fund supplements this amount to bring the total incentives available to $15 million per year available to public electric utility customers.
Both solar PV and solar thermal projects must be located in one of the four participating electric investor owned utilities’ (IOU) service territories. Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, Alliant Energy and Otter Tail Power are participating.
Incentives for solar PV are performance-based, established by a system’s energy production, and paid over 10 years. Owners of an approved and installed PV system will receive payments annually by July 1st based on the kWh output of the system in the previous calendar year.
There are three incentive levels depending on the ownership and system size. In addition, amounts vary by module. The three levels are Commercial for Profit, Nonprofit/Public, and Residential. Commercial systems must have a capacity of less than 40 kW and residential systems may have a capacity of up to 10 kW.
Production-Based Incentives (PBIs) are designed to pay the customer based on the actual production of its renewable energy system over time. The Made in Minnesota structure for production based incentive payments to the customer is based on the amount of kilowatt hours (kWh) produced annually for 10 years. By March 1st each year, the participating utility in which the solar PV system is interconnected with will annually record and submit to the Department of Commerce a record of the energy produced by the system from January 1 – December 31. The Department of Commerce will use the amount of energy produced to calculate a PBI amount and send a check to the customer by July 1st. Renewable Energy Credits (REC) associated with the energy provided to the utility for which an incentive payment is made belong to the utility during the first 10 years when a customer is receiving incentive payments.
The solar incentive program will be available to customers of investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) who install solar electric systems (PV) using solar modules certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Modules from four Minnesota companies—tenKsolar, Silicon Energy, itek Energy, and Heliene—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 January 1 – February 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery.
The six criteria listed in the Made in Minnesota Solar Energy Production Incentive legislation (Minnesota Statute § 216C.414, subd. 2 (2013)) were used to determine the incentive amounts. 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.
The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce with an annual budget of $15 million for 10 years, of which up to $250,000 per year can be reserved for solar thermal rebates. About 50 percent of the incentives will go to residential systems and about 50 percent to commercial. 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 Energy Renewable Development Fund (RDF).
Questions can be directed to the Department of Commerce Energy Information Line: 651-539-1886 or toll free at 1-800-657-3710.
Commercial For Profit 2015 Incentive Amount
Nonprofit/Public 2015 Incentive Amount
Residential 2015 Incentive Amount
If the modules being installed are not on the CEC list but they are certified as Made in Minnesota please send a request to email@example.com with the manufacturer name, module number and name plate capacity for instructions on how to proceed. Please allow up to two business days for a response.
A resident who installs a 5 kW array of Silicon Energy Made in Minnesota Certified modules that generates 6,446 kWh of electricity annually may be paid $2,385 (6,446 kWh x.37/kWh) each year for 10 years or a total of $23,850. The amount of electricity produced and therefore the incentive payment will vary each year.
A business that installs a 30 kW commercial array of tenKsolar Made in Minnesota certified modules that generate 42,516 kWh annually may be paid $5,527.07 (42,516 kWh x .13/kWh) each year for 10 years or a total of $55,270.74*. The amount of electricity produced and therefore the incentive payment will vary each year.
*Please note that the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive is in addition to the net metering credit a customer would receive from the utility for the electricity produced from the installed solar array.
Solar thermal energy is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat).
For the purposes of the Made in Minnesota program, a “Solar Thermal System” means a flat plate or evacuated tube with a fixed orientation that collects the sun’s radiant energy and transfers it to a storage medium for distribution as energy to heat or cool air or water. A solar thermal system is “Made in Minnesota” if components of the system are manufactured in Minnesota and the solar thermal system is certified by the solar rating and certification corporation. The solar thermal systems may be installed in residential and commercial facilities for, among other purposes, water heating, space heating, and pool heating purposes.
Rebates are also available to commercial, multifamily and residential property owners who install solar thermal systems using collectors certified as Made in Minnesota. The rebate is equal to 25 percent of the system installed cost up to a maximum of $2,500 for residential, $5,000 for multi-family, and $25,000 for commercial systems.
To receive a Made in Minnesota rebate, applicants must be use a factory authorized solar thermal installer. Contact one of the Made in Minnesota certified solar thermal system manufacturers, below, for a list of factory authorized installers.
The collectors listed below are certified as Made in Minnesota and are eligible for a 2015 class of Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebates.
Energy Conservation Products and Services Solarway 6000
Rural Renewable Energy Alliance SPF 26, SPF 32, SPF 40
Solar Skies SS- 16, SS- 18, SS-21, SS-24, SS-26, SS-28, SS-32, SS-40, SS-50. NSC-21, NSC-24, NSC-26, NSC-28, NSC-32, NSC-40 (Solar Skies water heating systems manufactured in the Minnesota plant are eligible for the rebate.)
2015 Solar Thermal Incentive Amount
|Solar Thermal Collectors||Commercial Properties||Multifamily Residential||Single Family Residential|
Energy Conservation and Products Solarway 6000
Solar Skies SS- 16, SS- 18, SS-21, SS-24, SS-26, SS-28, SS-32, SS-40, SS-50. NSC-21, NSC-24, NSC-26, NSC-28, NSC-32, NSC-40
Rural Renewable Energy Alliance SPF 26, SPF 32, SPF 40
|The lesser of 25% of the installed cost of a complete system or $25,000
||The lesser of 25% of the installed cost of a complete system or $5,000||The lesser of 25% of the installed cost of a complete system or $2,500|
A single family homeowner who installs a certified Made in Minnesota solar thermal system which has a total installation cost of $6,000 would be eligible, upon application submittal and approval to receive a one-time rebate of 25% ($1,500) of the total installed cost. In addition, most solar thermal systems are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit through 2016. See DSIREUSA.org.
A community solar garden is a solar electric array with multiple subscribers connected to the utility grid. The subscribers may purchase a portion of the power produced by the array and receive a credit on their electric bill. Utility customers within the solar garden’s service area, including residences, businesses, local governments, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations, can all subscribe.
For purposes of the Made in Minnesota program, a community solar garden is a facility that generates electricity by means of a ground mounted or roof mounted solar PV device whereby subscribers receive a bill credit for the electricity generated in proportion to the size of their subscription. To receive a production-based incentive for using a certified Made in Minnesota module, the community garden must have not less than five subscribers of which no single subscriber has more than a 40% interest. Each subscription must be sized to represent at least 200 watts of the community solar garden’s generating capacity and to supply, when combined with the other distributed generation resources serving the premises, no more than 120% of the average annual consumption of electricity by each subscriber. The system size cannot be greater than 40 kW and it must be located in Xcel Energy service territory. All CSGs will be considered commercial for profit and receive that PBI rate that corresponds to the certified module installed.
Consumer Guide to Solar Energy (.pdf) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Hiring a Renewable Energy Contractor (.pdf)
Questions to ask a renewable energy contractor; includes links to maps of solar and wind energy contractors in Minnesota.
Clean Energy Project Builder - Find solar companies serving Minnesota
A directory called Clean Energy Project Builder is provided by Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTS) to find companies in Minnesota that can help you plan, implement and manage clean energy projects.
NABCEP Certified Solar Installers
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers certification of solar PV and Solar Heating Installation energy professionals throughout North America.
Factory Authorized Installers of Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Systems
To receive a Made in Minnesota rebate, applicants must use a factory-authorized solar thermal installer. For a list of factory-authorized solar thermal installers contact any one of the Minnesota based companies that have Made in Minnesota certified systems. Currently, systems certified for the solar thermal rebate program are available from three companies: Solar Skies, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), and Energy Conservation Products and Services. All of the solar thermal collectors currently manufactured by the three companies meet the Made in Minnesota certification criteria.
Organizations that can Help Consumers learn more about Solar Energy
Financing Options for Solar
For general information on the Made in Minnesota (MiM) Solar Incentive Program please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Commerce Energy Information Line: 651-539-1886 or toll free 1-800-657-3710.
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