Minneapolis Green Cost Share program has biggest year yet in 2021

January 2022

The Green Cost Share program is a local incentive program to prevent climate change and reduce air pollution in the City of Minneapolis. Through this program the city offers matching funds to participants when completing a solar, energy efficiency, or air pollution reduction project. 

The program launched in 2013 to help dry cleaners eliminate the use of cancer-causing chemicals. Over the years it has evolved to include more types of projects and eligible entities. One important component of this evolution has been the increased emphasis on environmental justice. The city has higher incentives and prioritizes projects in Green Zones, Great Street Eligible Priority Areas, income qualified housing, and most recently, buildings damaged in the civil unrest of 2020. 

Our Green Cost Share Program has already helped small businesses throughout Minneapolis make energy upgrades and is a leading example of smart climate policy intersecting with sound economic development. Investing at this intersection is how our city will create maximum impact in the city’s climate change, environmental justice, and pollution reduction strategies.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

As the City of Minneapolis launches the program for 2022, we want to share changes to the program and highlights from 2021.

2021 Highlights

  • 313 projects went through the program, nearly 100 more than in 2020, due to additional funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. 
  • Nearly 1,700 low-income properties benefited from solar energy and energy efficiency — nearly double the total number of income-qualified units from all previous years.
  • Over half of the projects in 2021 were considered environmental justice projects, receiving 71% of program funding. 


Chart of Green Cost Share projects by type and application year Chart of funding percentage to environmental justice projects in 2021

Changes for 2022

In 2022 the applications will be entirely online, using a program that allows users to save applications and return to them later. It can also send application copies to multiple people. 

Other general changes:

  • Applicants applying on behalf of a customer must now have the customer sign and acknowledge that they are aware the application is being submitted. 
  • A map on the website will help applicants determine if a project qualifies for the environmental justice rate.
  • The program will align with the Federal Justice40 initiative, which aims to dedicate at least 40% of climate change-related spending to environmental justice and front-line communities.
  • The city may allow customers to assign their incentive to a contractor if it remains within overall city procurement rules.

Energy Efficiency:

  • Increased cap to $75,000 for energy-benchmarked buildings.

Solar Group Purchase:

  • Increased the overall application cap to $150,000 per application. 

4d Energy Efficiency:

  • The overall match was reduced from 90% of total project cost to 70%.

Energy Efficiency and 4d Energy Efficiency:

  • Recommended efficiencies for common energy efficiency upgrades. Overall, ultra-high-efficiency equipment is  recommended if receiving city funds. 
  • Increased emphasis on building electrification

How to Apply

2022 program application deadlines:  Feb. 1, April 1, June 1.

All deadlines are funding dependent and open until funding is exhausted. 

The matching funds vary but go up to $75,000 for commercial and multifamily residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet under the city’s Energy Benchmarking ordinance. Combined with utility rebates and other incentives, a majority of costs for clean energy upgrades can be covered. There are categories for businesses, single and multi-family housing, 

The Metro CERT team at the Great Plains Institute is happy to continue to partner with the City of Minneapolis on this impactful program. 

Find more information and applications.


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