If you are considering a solar electric system to produce renewable energy for your home or business, Minnesota Power can help you maximize your investment through rebates offered under the SolarSense program.
We encourage customers to reduce electric energy consumption by making energy-saving improvements first. This helps to ensure that returns on a renewable energy system investment are optimized.
Solar, wind, and other renewable energy options may not be the lowest cost way to reduce your energy bills. Energy efficiency improvements to your home or business are typically more cost effective than installing a solar electric system. Visit the Pyramid of Conservation for a road map to achieving energy-saving goals based on what is right for your home. For business customers, visit our One Business section to find out how you can save energy, reduce costs, and get the most for your energy dollars.
After energy efficiency measures are taken, renewable energy may make sense for you as a clean energy source. For more information on Solar Electric Systems, click here.
Reduce your energy bill by producing your own renewable energy. In addition, if you do not consume all of your solar photovoltaic production, the excess generation will be credited on your bill.
When you install solar panels, you can:
- Reduce your energy bill with your own renewable energy.
- Get a one-time rebate to offset installation costs.
- Receive credit for excess energy production on your bill.
- Help the environment.
Minnesota Power customers can receive a rebate for installing a grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) electric system. To qualify you must:
- Be a Minnesota Power retail customer. All conservation program-eligible customer classes can apply—residential, commercial and industrial. Limit one rebate per customer, per year.
- Get preapproval of the project prior to purchase and installation.
- Install new components, including all major system components, using a solar energy installer.
- Own the PV system and the property/building where the system will be installed.
- Complete the installation within the earlier of three months of receiving approval of the System Review Form and an interconnection agreement or before the end of the program calendar year.
Minnesota Power's SolarSense program offers tiered rebates and incentives. Each incentive adds up to more savings for you. With the exception of the Energy Efficiency Incentive (see below), the total combined rebate and incentives cannot exceed $20,000, or 60% of installed costs, whichever is less. The Minnesota Power Solar Electric Program has limited funds which are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
SolarSense program dollars will not be reserved until an approved interconnection agreement is in place.2013 SolarSense Funding
(Solar Electric and Solar Thermal Water Heating)
|Budget||Rebate Dollars Committed*||Rebate Dollars Pending Application Process**||Paid||Remaining||Reserve Pool|
Note: Once the 2013 SolarSense funds have been fully committed* for projects, the program will continue to review projects to build a $100,000 reserve pool. In the event that previously approved projects drop out and funds are returned for reallocation, projects from the reserve pool will receive SolarSense funding in the order that they received an approved Minnesota Power interconnection application. This is only applicable to the program year in which the application was received. Reserve pool applications do not carry forward to future program years. If you are planning to add a battery backup system in conjuction with a solar system, you must also complete the battery backup system addendum form.
* Funds committed are funds that are reserved for solar projects that have completed the requirements, which includes Minnesota Power's interconnection approvals.
** Applications received and in process that have not been reserved.
To qualify for the $1,000/kW base rebate you must meet the qualification requirements (see above) and complete your project within the earlier of three months of receiving approval of the System Review Form and an interconnection agreement or before December 31, 2013.
NABCEP Certified Installer Incentive
This incentive encourages quality installation by solar installers who have been NABCEP certified. To qualify for the additional $800/kW NABCEP incentive, you must meet the base rebate requirements and:
- Use a certified North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) solar photovoltaic installer.
This incentive rewards customers who choose solar products, equipment, or systems manufactured in Minnesota. To qualify for the additional $800/kW Minnesota Made Incentive, you must meet the base rebate requirements and the Minnesota Made Incentive requirements.
Nonprofit/Tax Exempt Incentive
An additional rebate of $500/kW is available for nonprofit organizations or tax exempt customers (must meet the requirements of base rebate)
Energy Efficiency Incentive
This incentive recognizes customers who have demonstrated energy efficiency in their home or business. To qualify for the additional $800/kW Energy Efficiency Incentive, you must meet the base rebate requirements and:
- Residential customers must complete the ENERGY STAR® Yardstick with a rating of 7 or greater and have the rating verified via an In-Home Energy Analysis.
- Customers can see if they might qualify by visiting the Home Energy Yardstick site and inserting the required information to receive a Yardstick score (even if customers score 7 or above, they must still get verification via an In-home Energy Analysis). Please note that the score is based on historical data so new changes will not immediately affect your score.
- For new construction, customers must design and build to Triple E specifications.
- Visit HEA or call 218-355-3070 to schedule your free In-home Energy Analysis. After the analysis, you'll receive energy-saving recommendations and find out if you qualify for the Energy Efficiency Incentive.
- If you have further questions regarding the residential Energy Efficiency Incentive, please call Al Lian at 218-355-3080.
- Commercial customers must achieve an ENERGY STAR® qualified rating or, for non-ENERGY STAR® rated facilities, receive a Level II End Use Analysis and implement at least two identified measures that qualify for a rebate under Minnesota Power's PowerGrant program.
- To begin the process, fill out a PowerGrant pre-application online here.
- A Minnesota Power representative will contact you to schedule a Level II End Use Analysis.
- After the analysis, customers must complete two recommended energy measures which are eligible for rebates under the PowerGrant program.
- If you have further questions regarding the commercial Energy Efficiency Incentive, please call Craig Kedrowski at 218-355-2213.
This incentive is not subject to the $20,000 or 60% maximum cap, but rather has a separate cap of $5,000 or 15% of installed costs, whichever is less.
Before beginning the application process, it's important to read the program details and participation requirements. The basic steps to receiving a solar electric rebate are:
- Submit an application. This application will be reviewed to ensure the proposed system meets program requirements.
Work with your qualified system installer to complete an interconnection agreement. To be eligible for SolarSense, you must commit to connecting to the electrical system. Off-grid solar electric systems are not eligible.
For more details about interconnection requirements and to complete an Interconnection Application, click here. If you are planning to add a battery backup system in conjuction with a solar system, you must also complete the battery backup system addendum form.
- Work with your qualified installer to submit a Solar Electric Rebate Form.
SolarSense program dollars will not be reserved until an approved interconnection agreement is in place. Do not order, purchase, or install any equipment before receiving confirmation that the Interconnection Agreement has been approved.Other considerations and important information:
- Employ energy efficiency and conservation measures first, make your home/building as efficient as possible.
- Learn about solar energy system options.
- Find out whether your location can benefit from solar energy by conducting a solar site assessment. A solar site assessor can provide an objective evaluation of your specific location. Minnesota Power requires a site assessment prior to applying for solar rebates. The solar site assessor need not be the solar installer who completes the installation for purposes of this program.
- Select a solar installer. See the publication Hiring a Renewable Energy Contractor. It includes a list of solar installers serving Minnesota. Note that not all installers listed are eligible to participate in the program. You are encouraged to talk with multiple installers before making your selection.
- Your installer should work with Minnesota Power on an interconnection application and local building officials on any applicable building codes (see step 1 of the application process).
- Your installer should submit a Solar Electric Rebate Form (see step 2 of the application process) AFTER assembling all supporting documentation.
- Additional funding may be available through federal tax incentives. For a current list of federal, state, and utility energy incentives, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy web site at www.dsireusa.org.