Funding Opportunity

Minneapolis Green Cost Share program increases clean energy support for 2021

December 2020

The City of Minneapolis Green Cost Share program provides matching funds for energy efficiency and solar energy, as well as pollution reduction, in Minneapolis.

The program, launched in 2013, serves commercial, industrial, multi-family, and single-family properties. Projects contribute to the City's energy and environmental goals by reducing electricity-derived greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and other dangerous pollutants. Support in 2021 is increasing in a number of ways, detailed below.

Providing support to “Rebuild Resilient”

The City has increased incentives related to environmental justice areas in 2021. The new incentives build on the Mayor’s Minneapolis Forward initiative, a citywide path to recovery and transformation stemming from the leadership of the Minneapolis Forward Community Now Coalition members, local business leaders and owners, private partners, and advocates.  “Rebuild Resilient” aims to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), including immigrant-owned businesses and those with buildings damaged during civil unrest. It is one strategy to assist communities impacted by both the economic effects of COVID-19 and the damage done after the killing of George Floyd.

We aren't just recovering, we are building back stronger. If you are going to have to get new light fixtures, well, let us make it LED. If you have to get a new [heating and AC] system, let us make sure to reduce the carbon footprint.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

Details about available support

In general, the Green Cost Share matching funds are up to $50,000 for solar and energy efficiency projects. Combined with utility rebates and other incentives, this can cover a large portion of the costs for energy upgrades. The new and recently announced “Rebuild Resilient” program adds an additional $1.17 million in energy assistance for small businesses owned by people of color, immigrants and those affected by civil unrest. Applicants can receive up to $50,000 toward installing solar panels or making other energy efficient changes to their storefronts and restaurants, like lighting, insulation, HVAC, and other equipment. Solar incentives are based on the estimated first year’s production.

The first deadline for the 2021 program will be January 1st, with additional deadlines on March 1st, May 3rd, and July 2nd. All deadlines are funding-dependent and open until funding is exhausted. Applications are available on the City’s website.

There is also a group buy category for solar projects on residential properties. Additionally, multi-family properties that participate in the City’s 4D Affordable Housing Incentive Program can receive up to $50,000 per property for energy efficiency upgrades or a solar incentive of $0.35/kWh. The goal of the program is to preserve affordable homes in Minneapolis by helping rental property owners to obtain property tax reductions if they agree to keep 20% or more of their rental units affordable. This first deadline for this program is March 1, 2021.

As we see the impacts of climate change causing increasing harm around the world, it is critical that every community does what we can to reduce carbon emissions, and to do so in a way that benefits those who have historically borne the brunt of environmental racism. I’m thrilled to see Minneapolis step up to that challenge through the Green Cost Share program.

Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon

Partnering and sharing successes

Community leaders from the Lake Street Council, West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, the Latino Economic Development Center, and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce have been helping to inform the Minneapolis Forward program. The Metro CERT team at the Great Plains Institute is happy to partner to support impacted businesses, and more generally with the Green Cost Share program. We have been helping promote the program and facilitating the application review process since 2018. We are also in the process of writing and sharing stories about successful completed projects, the first of which is about a pair of solar installations at Impact.

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