Solar-Electric (PV) Rebate Program

October 05, 2010


Note: Current funding for this program is now fully reserved; however, the Minnesota Office of Energy Security (OES) has indicated that it will accept applications for a short time for placement on a waiting list. The Minnesota Office of Energy Security (OES) administers a solar-electric (PV) rebate program to buy down the up-front costs of solar-electric (PV) systems for state residents and small businesses. Residential systems must be located at a primary residence; however, applicants do not need to be the primary resident in order to qualify (i.e., apartments or rental properties are eligible if at least one tenant occupies the property as a primary resident). Small business rebates are limited to Minnesota businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. The minimum system size is 0.5 kilowatts (kW) and capacity up to 5 kW for residential systems and 10 kW for small business systems is eligible for a rebate. Larger systems are eligible for a rebate but the incentive amount is only calculated up to these capacity limits. Past solar electric rebate participants are eligible for the program, but only for combined capacity that does not exceed the residential or small business limits above. Separate applications exist for residential and small business rebates but program rules for each are generally similar. Both grid-connected and off-grid systems are eligible for assistance under this program. Rebate levels for 2010 range from $1.50 - $2.00 per DC watt depending on installer qualifications; initial project application date; and the date that a final rebate claim is filed. Systems must be installed by a licensed electrical contractor or general contractor having at least two installations of 0.5 kW or larger in the previous 12 months; however, systems installed by contractors that meet the above criteria and are NABCEP certified are eligible for higher incentives. The list below describes how the actual incentive level is determined:

  • For small business applications submitted by April 30, 2010 for which a final rebate claim is submitted by September 30, 2010, the incentive is $1.75 per watt (DC), or $2.00 per watt if the installer is NABCEP certified
  • For small business applications submitted by April 30, 2010 for which a final rebate claim is submitted after September 30, 2010, the incentive is $1.50 per watt, or $1.75 per watt if the installer is NABCEP certified
  • For residential applications submitted after March 31, 2010 or small business applications submitted after April 30, 2010 the incentive is $1.50 per watt, or $1.75 per watt if the installer is NABCEP certified
Participants must submit an application form to reserve a rebate before performing any installation work. The rebate reservation application contains a detailed list of equipment and installation requirements which must be met in order to qualify for incentives. After receiving confirmation from the OES, participants have nine months to install proposed systems and obtain approval by electric-utility officials (required) and local code officials (if necessary). In September 2004, the Minnesota Department of Commerce issued a two-page publication, Electricity from the Sun - A Minnesota Solar Energy Primer, for consumers interested in the state's solar rebate program. A total of $3 million will be available during 2010 or all state solar programs, with $2.5 million set aside for the PV rebate program. Although in the past this program has been funded from the Xcel Renewable Development Fund (RDF), the 2010 program is funded using Federal economic stimulus (ARRA) money. The use of ARRA funding may require adherence to additional reporting and project implementation standards compared to prior program years. The rebate cannot be used in combination with other Xcel Renewable Development Fund support. Those who do not qualify under the current program guidelines (e.g., industrial, governmental, non-profits, etc.) are encouraged to contact the OES about other funding opportunities.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Financial Incentive
State: Minnesota
Incentive Type: Rebate Program
Web Site:
Administrator: Minnesota Department of Commerce
Start Date: 2002
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Photovoltaics
Incentive Amount: Base incentive: $1.50/W DC
NABCEP certified installer: add $0.25/W DC
Small businesses: add $0.25/W for applications submitted by April 30, 2010 if final rebate claims made by September 30, 2010.
Maximum Incentive: Based on system size limitations and incentive calculation methods: Residential: $7,500 - $8,750
Small business: $15,000 - $20,000
Eligible System Size: 0.5 kW Minimum
Equipment Requirements: Systems components must be new, UL-listed, in compliance with all applicable performance and safety standards; Inverters must carry a minimum 5-year warranty; PV panels must carry a 20-year warranty.
Installation Requirements: Installation must comply with all federal, state and local codes; grid-connected or off-grid systems eligible; systems must be installed by a licensed, qualified professional; installations must comply with detailed siting criteria specified in program guidelines; performance should be at least 90% of ideally sited system
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Not specified


Name: Energy Information Center
Organization: Minnesota Department of Commerce
Address: 85 7th Place East
St. Paul MN 55101-2198
Phone: (800) 657-3710

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.