MN Solar Energy Program Offers $250K In Annual Rebates
The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced Monday that it will begin offering rebates in January as an incentive for residents and businesses to use solar electric and thermal energy systems.
The rebates (which will total up to $250,000 per year) are part of the 10-year, $150 million “Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.” A solar thermal system—for hot water or space heating purposes, among other uses—is deemed eligible for the rebate program if its system components are manufactured in Minnesota and it receives certification from Florida-based Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. Currently, certified systems come from three Minnesota companies: Alexandria-based Solar Skies, LLC, Pine River-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, and Duluth-based Energy Conservation Products and Services, Inc.
Customers of Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power who install certified systems can apply for the solar thermal and solar electric rebates beginning January 1, 2014, and will be chosen via a lottery method.
Subject to sufficient applications for each category, the commerce department will allocate 50 percent of the annual rebates to solar thermal hot water systems; meanwhile, the other 50 percent will go toward solar thermal air heating projects.
The maximum rebate amount for single-family residential dwellings is either 25 percent of the solar energy system installation cost or $2,500; whichever is less. For multiple family residential dwellings, the maximum rebate amount is either 25 percent of the installation cost or $5,000; whichever is less. The maximum rebate amount for businesses is either 25 percent of the system’s installation cost or $25,000; whichever is less.
The commerce department said that the Made in Minnesota program is meant to create more jobs in the energy industry, as well as develop sustainable and locally sourced energy systems.
“Solar energy incentives will help boost the state’s solar market and make solar more affordable for Minnesota consumers and businesses,” Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement. “This program will spur local job growth and development in Minnesota.”
The program receives funding from two sources: 5 percent of the annual Conservation Improvement Program budget for each of Minnesota’s public electric utilities goes toward the program, and the Xcel Renewable Development fund will contribute roughly $12 million in the program’s first year.
Click here for more information about the Made in Minnesota program.
Last month, Twin Cities Business reported on the state’s changing energy industry—particularly for businesses in Minnesota’s Iron Range. Click here to read the full story.