Minnesota offers 20c/kWh residential PV incentive

The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced has announced the 2014 incentive amounts for its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota (MiM) Solar Incentive Program, to launch on Jan. 1, 2014. The announcement of the incentive amounts means that for the Minnesota residents and businesses who apply and receive the incentive, the cost to install a solar electric system will be much more affordable, boosting Minnesota’s solar energy generation.

The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Department of Commerce with an annual budget of up to $15 million for 10 years, of which up to $250,000 per year is reserved for solar thermal rebates. Approximately 50 percent of the incentives will go to residential systems and roughly 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 Renewable Development Fund (RDF), with the RDF providing approximately $12 million in the first year.

As part of this year’s larger solar energy bill aimed to grow the solar energy sector in Minnesota, the Made in Minnesota program is one tool that will help the state achieve the new solar electricity standard, which calls for 1.5 percent of electric sales from investor-owned utilities to come from solar electricity by 2020.

The 2014 Made in Minnesota program is estimated to increase the state’s solar capacity by more than 6 megawatts, an increase of about 43 percent to Minnesota’s capacity of 14.1 megawatts (as of June 30, 2013).

Who can apply for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program?

The solar incentive program will be available to customers of the following investor-owned utilities: Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power.  Consumers and businesses that would like to participate in the Made in Minnesota Program will need to install solar electric systems (also known as solar photovoltaic or PV) using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Currently, modules certified for the program are available from two Minnesota companies – tenKsolar and Silicon Energy. To qualify for incentives, solar PV systems must be less than 40 kilowatts (kW).

Applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted annually between January 1 and February 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery. Applications will be available on the Commerce website beginning January 1, 2014.

Solar Energy Production Incentives

Several factors were used to determine the incentive amounts, including six criteria listed in the Made in Minnesota Solar Energy Production Incentive legislation (Minnesota Statute § 216.414). Incentives for PV systems will be performance-based – established by a system’s actual total energy production – and will be paid over 10 years.  Incentives for 2014 will be paid based on the kilowatt hours (kWh) generated during the 2014 calendar year.  The solar energy generated in 2014 would then be reported by the customer’s utility company by March 1, 2015 and incentive payments to the consumer or business would be made by July 1, 2015 and each year thereafter.  For example, a resident who installs a 5 kW Silicon Energy solar array that generates 6,446 kWh AC annually will be paid $1,740 each year for 10 years or a total of $17,405.  The amount of energy produced and therefore the incentive payment will vary each year.

Certified Modules and Incentive Amounts

Commercial For Profit Solar Incentive Amounts

  • tenKsolar: Module TKS-FXXXXXXX = $.13/kWh
  • Silicon Energy: Cascade Modules SiE 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, 195, 200, 205 = $.18/kWh

Nonprofit/Government Solar Incentive Amounts

  • tenKsolar: Module TKS-FXXXXXXX = $.20/kWh
  • Silicon Energy: Cascade Modules SiE 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, 195, 200, 205 = $.27/kWh

Residential Solar Incentive Amounts

  • tenKsolar: Module TKS-FXXXXXXX = $.20/kWh
  • Silicon Energy: Cascade Modules SiE 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185, 190, 195, 200, 205 = $.27/kWh

More information on Made in Minnesota program is available on the Commerce Made in Minnesota Solar Program website. Questions can be directed to the Department of Commerce Energy Information Line: 651-539-1886 or toll free at 1-800-657-3710.

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