Minnesota

Minnesota Rebates and Incentives Summary

Minnesota

This northern state is known for its plethora of lakes, broad swathes of forest, and the unique accent of its residents. It also has a thriving renewable sector, and has established itself as a leader in incentives and renewable energy policy

Minnesota’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is one of the strongest in the nation, and requires utilities to source 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Solar energy saw a massive up-tick with the 2013 passage of the Solar Energy Jobs Act, which mandates that solar provide 1.5 % of energy sales by 2020 and encourages utilities to reach 10 % by 2030. Xcel Energy, the largest single Minnesota utility, expects to reach and possibly exceed those goals.

Minnesota has a diverse energy portfolio, with a strong reliance on natural gas and nuclear power. Interestingly, the state produces nearly as much energy from renewables as it does coal. Additionally, the state’s emphasis on efficiency means that though the state has brutally cold winters, it ranks 25th in the country for per capita residential energy use.

The solar industry is not without its critics, however. Although energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprints are top priorities for both Republicans and Democrats in Minnesota, whether solar and other renewables are the best investment receives debate at the state capital. Solar won a victory this year with the approval of a 100 MW solar project in mid-2015, but solar advocates certainly fear a turn-around in the state’s strong policy.

Xcel Energy Solar Rewards Program

Program Type Xcel Energy Solar Rewards Program
Technologies Photovoltaics
Amount Between $0.01-$0.05 per kWh. Credits can either be rolled over and held in a Solar Bank, or any excess credits are paid out yearly
Required Documentation https://xcelenergy.force.com/SolarRewards/SR_CommunitiesLogin?startURL=null
Official Web Site http://www.xcelenergy.com/Energy_Solutions/Residential_Solutions/Renewable_Energy_Solutions/SolarRewards_for_Residences

All Minnesota utilities must offer a solar production incentive for systems of 20 kW-DC or less. Xcel Energy’s incentive program is similar those of many other utilities.

The solar capacity must be less than 120% of the customer’s annual energy consumption. The generator can be owned by either the homeowner or a third party. Leased generators receive a smaller credit. “Medium generators,” or those producing more than 25 kW and up to 500 kW, qualify for a $0.05 per kWh credit.

To start the program, customers must apply through the website. An engineering study is required to approved the generator. The customer must pay $250 deposit which is refunded if the application is completed within 365 days, and a non-refundable study fee of $100. Medium generators have a $1,500 refundable deposit and at $1,000-2,000 study fee.ar

Xcel Energy Solar Rewards Program

Program Type Rebate
Technologies Photovoltaics
Amount Up to $90,000. Paid at $2.25 per installed Watt of DC solar power
Required Documentation

Create a user account with Xcel Energy at xcelenergysolarrewards.com, start the

application process there.

Official Web Site

https://energy.gov/eere/femp/energy-incentive-programs-minnesota

This is offered as just one example of utility rebate program. Since all utilities in the state are impacted by Minnesota’s RPS, all offer some incentives to help homeowners convert to solar or other renewable energy.

Xcel Energy offers significant financial incentives for grid-connected PV systems for its customers. Rebates can add up to $90,000 for installed systems of up to but not exceeding 40 kW. In exchange for receiving the rebate, the customer must enter into a 20-year contract with Xcel for all RECs generated by the system during the contract’s life. As of November 15, $1.4 million of the $4.6 million Xcel reserved for the program in 2010 was still available.

The up-front rebates are offered at $2.25 per installed DC Watt. However, Minnesota is funding a Minnesota Made program under which additional funds are available for the rebate. Under the Minnesota Made program, Xcel is offering an additional $2.75 per watt DC for systems assembled in Minnesota, bringing the total rebate to $5.00 per watt DC. The Minnesota Made rebates are paid out over a five-year period through Xcel. In addition, Xcel will buy excess generation of the system through its net-metering program.

To qualify for the rebates, the applicant must be an Xcel customer, and the project must be located in Minnesota. New construction is eligible for the rebates, but they must have an Xcel meter onsite and Xcel must be the electric provider. For existing structures Xcel must have performed an energy audit within the last three years and may be required to have implement some of the recommendations identified in the audit before participating in the Solar*Rewards program. Energy Star certified homes and buildings are not required to undergo an audit to participate.

The customer must submit the application and receive approval for the system prior to installing it. And they must pay the $250 application fee, which is refunded is the application is denied or the customer withdraws the application before having an engineering review.

Value of Solar Tariff

Program Type Value of Solar Tariff
Technologies Photovoltaics and other renewables
Amount Credited at retail rate toward future months                                                                            
Required Documentation Interconnection agreement with utility
Official Web Site http://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/detail/5666

The Value of Solar Tariff is an alternative to net metering for the utility companies. Companies may apply to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to use the tariff to compensate customers for the value of PV systems interconnected to the utility. The tariff considers the value to the utility, customers, and society.

Each utility offers its own methodology for considering the value of solar, but must include the value of energy and its delivery, the generation capacity, the transmission capacity, the transmission and distribution line losses, and environmental value.

No utility has established a Value of Solar tariff at this point.

Minnesota Solar Power Financial Incentives

Financial Incentives

Wind and Solar-Electric (PV) Systems Exemption

MN

Financial Incentive

Property Tax Incentive

01/01/2000

03/26/2015

Agricultural Improvement Loan Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Loan Program

01/01/2000

03/11/2015

Value-Added Stock Loan Participation Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Loan Program

01/01/2000

02/13/2015

Renewable Energy Production Incentive

MN

Financial Incentive

Performance-Based Incentive

01/01/2000

01/07/2015

Net Metering

MN

Regulatory Policy

Net Metering

01/01/2000

06/26/2015

Solar and Wind Easements & Local Option Rights Laws

MN

Regulatory Policy

Solar/Wind Access Policy

01/01/2000

05/15/2015

Comprehensive Energy Savings Plan for State Facilities

MN

Regulatory Policy

Energy Standards for Public Buildings

01/01/2000

02/24/2015

Xcel Energy Wind and Biomass Generation Mandate

MN

Regulatory Policy

Renewables Portfolio Standard

01/01/2000

02/24/2015

Solar Equipment Certification

MN

Regulatory Policy

Equipment Certification

01/01/2000

02/24/2015

Wind Energy Sales Tax Exemption

MN

Financial Incentive

Sales Tax Incentive

11/29/2001

01/06/2015

Fuel Mix and Emissions Disclosure

MN

Regulatory Policy

Generation Disclosure

12/03/2001

05/15/2015

Renewable Development Fund (RDF)

MN

Regulatory Policy

Public Benefits Fund

12/03/2001

02/13/2015

Interconnection Standards

MN

Regulatory Policy

Interconnection

06/19/2003

01/05/2015

Xcel Energy - Renewable Development Fund Grants

MN

Financial Incentive

Grant Program

01/12/2004

03/05/2015

Minnesota Power - Solar-Electric (PV) Rebate Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Rebate Program

06/21/2004

02/06/2015

Home Energy Loan Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Loan Program

07/01/2005

03/05/2015

Solar Energy Sales Tax Exemption

MN

Financial Incentive

Sales Tax Incentive

07/14/2005

05/15/2015

Minnesota Power - Power Grant Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Grant Program

05/26/2006

03/10/2015

Minnesota Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Rebate Program

05/26/2006

01/06/2015

Otter Tail Power Company - Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Grant Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Grant Program

05/28/2006

01/08/2015

Otter Tail Power Company - DollarSmart Energy Efficiency Loan Program

MN

Financial Incentive

Loan Program

05/28/2006

03/09/2015