During the summer of 2013, the state of Minnesota passed a new incentive for commercial and residential solar water heating. However, the program budget is small and it requires components to be made in Minnesota.
The good news is that in addition to this state rebate program, there are also several local utility rebate programs available. Check out the list here. You’ll also be eligible for the Federal 30% Investment Tax Credit, except for residential swimming pools.
Here are the highlights of the Made in Minnesota solar thermal program:
When: The rebate is a 10-year program and will be available to those installing a solar thermal system after January 1, 2014, and will continue through December 31st, 2023.
- For residential solar water heating systems, the rebate amount is 25% of the cost, or a maximum of $2,500, whichever is less.
- For multi-family residential homes, the maximum rebate amount is boosted to $5,000.
- For commercial systems, the maximum amount is capped at 25% of the initial cost up to $25,000.
Program Budget: There’s only $250,000 per year available, and half of the budget is split between solar water heating and solar thermal air heating. So, that’s really only $125,000 for solar thermal, or the equivalent of 5 commercial projects or 25 multi-residential projects, or 50 residential projects, assuming the maximum allowed.
Eligible Products: In order to spur more solar manufacturing in the state, the program is limited to installations with “Made in Minnesota” components.
In terms of solar collectors and solar hot water tanks, Solar Skies is the only company who manufactures those products in Minnesota. On the solar air heating side, there’s the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREA). Products must also be certified by the SRCC.
For other potential Minnesota solar component manufacturers, view the list on Minnesota’s Department of Commerce and Energy. To read the full law and the details of these provisions, you can read it online here.
Eligible Applications: The solar thermal systems may be installed in residential and commercial facilities for hot water, space heating, or pool heating, as well as other purposes.
Although this is a small program, it remains to be seen if there will be enough demand to use up these funds. According to the law, if the annual allocated funds aren’t used, the money is lost and the following year’s budget is reset to the $250,000 annual budget.
So, if you’re a Minnesota solar thermal installer, opportunity is knocking for at least a few commercial clients and perhaps 50 homeowners. Of course, if you need any engineering or design help, be sure to contact Free Hot Water.