More Minnesotans will have access to affordable solar thermal systems after the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced that it will offer rebates beginning March 18 to residents, businesses, nonprofits, and government entities as part of its Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.
“Moving to solar thermal can help smooth spikes in heating costs by using renewable energy as a complement to current heating sources, whether it’s propane, natural gas, wood or electricity,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The rebates will now help make installing solar heating a more affordable option for Minnesota businesses and residents.”
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, agricultural 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.
Systems certified for the solar thermal rebate program are currently available from three Minnesota companies: Solar Skies, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) SolarWall and Solar Powered Furnace, and Energy Conservation Products and Services. All of the solar thermal collectors manufactured by the three companies meet the Made in Minnesota certification criteria. Solar Skies production in Minnesota was discontinued on January 31, 2015, but any collector manufactured by Solar Skies in Minnesota is eligible for the rebate.
Who can apply for the solar thermal rebate?
Rebates are now available to all Minnesota residents and businesses. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis through the end of the year or until all solar thermal funds have been fully committed. Each year new funding is available and applications will be accepted from January 1–February 28 through 2023. Applicants will be selected by lottery.
Solar thermal rebate amounts
Up to $250,000 per year in rebates will be available until 2023. The solar thermal system rebates are as follows:
- Single family residential dwellings. Maximum rebate is the lesser of 25 percent of the installed cost of a complete system or $2,500.
- Multiple family residential dwellings. Maximum rebate is the lesser of 25 percent of the installed cost of a complete system or $5,000.
- Commercial installations. Maximum rebate is the lesser of 25 percent of the installation cost of the complete system or $25,000.
- The systems must be installed by a factory-authorized installer.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help.
The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Department of Commerce. More information on the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is available on their website. 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.
Examples of completed solar thermal projects
Wondering what can be done with solar thermal? Check out these resources from CERTs on installed projects in Minnesota.
Solar Thermal Hot Water:
- Woodbury Bielenberg Sports Center integrates solar hot water into building systems
- A Laundry Room in Ely Heats Water Using the Power of the Sun
- Minneapolis’ Wellstone Apartments goes solar with water heating
- University of Minnesota Morris solar-heated swimming pool
- Solar hot water heating at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center
- Solar Hot water heating at Minnesota alpaca farm
- Solar thermal hot water systems at Gustavus Adolphus College
- Heating water with the sun at Camphill Village farm
- Solar hot water heating on Minnesota dairy farm
- Happy campers take solar showers in Grand Marais
- Solar thermal projects in the Energy Innovation Corridor
Solar Thermal Air Heat:
- Turkey farmers learn about solar air heating
- Heating air with solar thermal at Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport
- Solar-powered season extension: High tunnel heating research
- Long-Term Benefits Make Sense in the Short Term: St. Louis County Solar Air Heat
- Cass County Transfer Station Taps into Solar
- Bringing Solar Air Heat to Leech Lake
- REAL Solar installs first Made-in-Minnesota solar thermal system
- Heating Things Up on the Farm: Crop Drying with Solar Air Heat in Central Minnesota
- Rural Renewable Energy Alliance looks to expand Solar Assistance to mobile homes