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Solar on Public Buildings

Current information (04/16/2024): The Minnesota Department of Commerce will launch the Request for Proposals for the Solar on Public Buildings Grant Program on April 22. 

In 2023 the Minnesota Legislature established the Solar on Public Buildings (SPB) Grant Program (Minn. Stat. § 216C.377). The purpose of this program is to provide grants to stimulate the installation of solar energy systems on public buildings. The Department of Commerce will administer $4.3M in grants to local governments in Xcel Energy electric service territory through at least two funding rounds.   

Eligible applicants for this grant program are local units of government (LUGs) including a county, statutory or home rule charter city, town, or other local government jurisdiction, excluding a school district eligible to receive financial assistance under section 216C.375; or a federally recognized Indian Tribe in Minnesota. (Minn. Stat. § 216C.377, subd. 1).  

Grants will be awarded for up to 70% of the project costs (dependent on the government’s financial capacity) for a solar array that is built on or adjacent to a public building and is the lesser of 40kW system capacity or 120% of the building’s annual energy consumption. 

Funding Round 1 Application Timeline

Step 1: Notice of Intent: Public Building Readiness Assessment 

  • Date of Issue: Monday, April 22, 2024 
  • Public Building Readiness Assessment Due Monday, June 3, 2024  
  • Public Building Readiness Eligibility Notification: Monday, July 1, 2024 

Step 2: Full Grant Application 

  • Application Open: Upon Notification 
  • Application Due: Monday, September 23, 2024 
  • Final Notification: Monday, October 21, 2024 

State Grant Funding 2024 

The Department of Commerce has been instructed to consider the financial capacity of the LUG when determining the amount of the grant award. For counties, cities, and townships, the department will use a tiered system of financial capacity, assessed by the Adjusted Net Tax Capacity / capita, determined with data from the MN Department of Revenue. Other local government jurisdictions such as Watershed Districts and Housing Authorities will be assessed based on the counties or cities’ ANTC/Capita within the respective jurisdiction. Tribal Nations, designated as “disadvantaged communities” by the federal government, are eligible for a Tier 1 grant award of up to 70% system cost. 

Maximum Allowable Grant
Tier Adjusted Net Tax Capacity / Capita Up to % System Cost Not to Exceed
Tier 1 Under $1,000 70% $84,000
Tier 2 >$1,000 60% $72,000
Tier 3 >$2,000 50% $60,000
Tier 4 >$3,500 40% $48,000
Tier 5 >$4,500 30% $36,000
Tribal Nations 70% $84,000

Prepare for the Request for Proposals (RFP) 

The first round of applications will open on April 22, 2024. In the meantime, you can prepare for the application by following these steps: 

  1. Schedule a free pre-application consultation with Peter Lindstrom from Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) - 
  2. Determine eligibility of building  
  3. Gather energy usage data (3 years' of electricity use) 
  4. Determine system budget 
  5. Start conversation with utility about connecting a solar array to the grid - 
  6. Know your local government's procurement procedure and follow those processes to seek bids from developers 
  7. Connect with local Regional Development Organization (if applicable) which may be able to provide additional assistance 
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