Program has supported over 1,000 solar projects in past three years
SAINT PAUL – Applications for the fourth year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program were open as of January 1, 2017, and will end at 4:30 pm CST on February 28, 2017.
Administered by the Minnesota Commerce Department, the program helps fund new solar electric and solar thermal systems for Minnesota residents, businesses and communities. In the program’s first three years, it has supported nearly 1,100 solar projects statewide.
“The Made in Minnesota Program is helping drive growth in the state’s rooftop solar market,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The program is boosting Minnesota’s clean energy economy by making solar more affordable, creating more clean energy jobs, and diversifying the state’s energy resources.”
The Legislature established the 10-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program in 2013 to expand the state’s solar industry. In the same year, it set a Solar Electricity Standard that requires investor-owned electric utilities to obtain 1.5 percent of their power from solar by 2020, with a goal of 10 percent by 2030.
Applicants for Made in Minnesota solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) systems, who are randomly selected for the program, receive an annual incentive payment for 10 years based on the system’s electricity production. For owners of solar thermal systems, the program offers a one-time rebate of up to 25 percent of the installed cost.
Solar electric systems generate electricity for a home or building, while solar thermal systems provide supplemental space heating or water heating. During the program’s first three years, funding was awarded in support of 1,048 solar electric projects and 36 solar thermal installations.
The PV projects equal about 15 megawatts (MW) of electric capacity. When all installations are completed and generating power, they will generate enough electricity to power 1,856 average Minnesota homes. Over 10 years, the Made in Minnesota Program is expected to help fund as many as 4,000 solar installations and increase the state’s solar electric capacity by about 65 MW, or more than four times the total capacity when the program began.
Who can apply for Made in Minnesota solar incentives? The solar incentive program is available to Minnesotans who install solar PV or solar thermal systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Applications for the two parts of the incentive program (solar PV and solar thermal) are accepted from January 1 to February 28 each year and are awarded through a random selection process.
The solar PV incentive program is open only to customers of investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power). It is also available to developers of community solar gardens (less than 40 kW). Solar thermal rebate applications are open to utility customers throughout the state, with priority given to customers of investor-owned utilities.
More information is available at the Made in Minnesota section of the Commerce Department website. For questions, contact the Commerce Department’s Energy Information Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-539-1886.
This information was provided by The Minnesota Department of Commerce.