Skip to content

Commerce to administer rebates for Made in Minnesota solar thermal systems starting in 2014

Solar Skies, RREAL, Energy Conservation Products and Services are companies certified for the solar rebate program

December 16, 2013


For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that it will begin to offer rebates for solar thermal systems starting in 2014 as part of its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program for both solar electric and solar thermal.

“Solar energy incentives will help boost the state’s solar market and make solar more affordable for Minnesota consumers and businesses,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “This program will spur local job growth and development in Minnesota.”

The solar incentive program includes up to $250,000 per year in rebates for the installation of “Made in Minnesota” solar thermal systems in the state. The solar thermal system may be installed in residential or commercial facilities for, among other uses, hot water or space heating purposes. A solar thermal system is “Made in Minnesota” if components of the system are manufactured in Minnesota and the solar thermal system is certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation.

Currently, the solar thermal systems certified for the solar thermal rebate program are available from three Minnesota companies: Solar Skies, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), and Energy Conservation Products and Services.  All of the solar thermal collectors currently manufactured by the three companies meet the Made in Minnesota certification criteria. The rebate program is attracting interest among manufacturers nationwide. The Solar Thermal Collector Certification Application is available to manufacturers and available on the Commerce Department’s website.

Who can apply for the solar thermal rebate?
Rebates are available to customers of the following investor-owned utilities: Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power. Applications will be accepted annually between January 1 and February 28 each year starting in 2014 through 2023 and will be selected by lottery. Applications for the solar thermal rebates and solar electric incentives will be posted on the Commerce Energy website beginning January 1, 2014.

Solar thermal rebate amounts
Up to $250,000 per year in rebates will be available from 2014 to 2023. The solar thermal system rebates are as follows:

  • Single family residential dwellings 
    • The maximum rebate amount is either 25% of the installed cost of a complete system or $2,500, whichever is lesser.
  • Multiple family residential dwellings 
    • The maximum rebate amount is either 25%  of the installed cost of a complete system or $5,000, whichever is lesser.
  • Commercial installations 
    • The maximum rebate available is either 25%  of the installation cost of the complete system or $25,000, whichever is lesser.

The systems must be installed by a factory- authorized installer. The Commerce Department will allocate approximately 50%  of the rebates each year to solar thermal hot water systems and 50%  to solar thermal air projects if sufficient applications are made for each category.

The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Department of Commerce with an annual budget of $15 million for 10 years. The program is funded through two sources: 5% of each public electric utility’s total annual Conservation Improvement Program budget and the Xcel Renewable Development Fund, with the RDF providing approximately $12 million in the first year.

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