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Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program

The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program was repealed during the 2017 legislative session, meaning no further applications will be accepted for the program. Commerce continues to administer the program for recipients with approved projects from the program’s four years.

The repealing legislation states: All Made in Minnesota projects that have approved applications must begin generating electricity no later than Oct. 31, 2018 to be eligible for incentive payments.

Questions about the Made in Minnesota program, such as incentive payments or change of ownership of a system, may be directed to the Solar Helpline at solar.help@state.mn.us and 651-539-1886 (local) or 800-657-3710 (Greater Minnesota).

For Made in Minnesota awardees: How to receive the incentive payment

Payments from the Made in Minnesota program are production-based incentives, established by a system’s energy production, and paid annually each year for 10 years. Each April, for the 10 years following interconnection, Made in Minnesota recipients will receive an email message listing the amount of energy in kWh, as recorded by their utility, that their system has produced in the preceding year and the corresponding payment owed based on the system production and the incentive amount.

As a requirement of this program, recipients must respond to this email message from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, attesting to the energy production to receive the incentive payment. Made in Minnesota recipients who respond and confirm that their energy production is accurate by the due date stated in the email message will receive an incentive payment no later than July 1 each eligible year. Incentive payments will only be issued once a year.

Program results 

The Made in Minnesota program was established by Solar Energy Legislation (passed in 2013 to stimulate the solar industry. From 2014-2017, it has approved support for nearly 1,400 projects in more than 50 counties across Minnesota, accounting for more than 20 megawatts of new capacity after all projects are installed. The program was open to customers of investor-owned electric utilities (Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power).

Other solar incentives and tax credits still available

The 2017 Legislature extended Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Program for three years and increased its funding to $15 million in 2018, $10 million in 2019 and 2020, and $5 million in 2021. Like Made in Minnesota, the Solar*Rewards Program provides recipients with 10 years of annual incentive payments based on the solar energy system’s annual production. Solar*Rewards is available to Xcel customers on a first-come, first-served basis.

Minnesota Power offers solar incentives to qualified customers through its SolarSense program. Otter Tail Power offers a Publicly Owned Property Solar program that provides cash incentives to publicly owned facilities that install non-residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Other utilities may also offer incentives for new solar energy systems.

In addition, a 30% federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit remains in place through 2019.

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