Made in Minnesota (MiM) is a program available to Southern Minnesota’s Xcel Energy customers who are planning to install solar panels. Here are six things you will want to know if you consider applying:
What is Made in Minnesota?
MiM was created by the Stage legislature in 2013 to provide financial incentive to install Minnesota-manufactured solar panels. The program will last for 10 years and will allocate $15 million. The rebates are available to customers of the state’s three investor-owned electric utilities: Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power and Xcel Energy. The program attracts a large pool of applicants, so participants are selected by lottery.
MiM is available for both solar photovoltaic (electricity production) and solar thermal (space and water heating). In fact, you can apply for the MiM solar thermal rebate no matter which utility services your area.
What’s it worth?
For solar PV, MiM is a 10-year production rebate program, so how much money you receive depends on how much electricity you produce for the first 10 years you own your system. It also depends on which manufacturer you select. Rebates range from:
- $.10-$.13 /kWh for commercial;
- $.13-$.16/kWh for non-profit;
- $.14-$.22/kWh for residential.
How do these rates translate into savings? Most systems end up paying for themselves about five years earlier than they would without the program.
Solar thermal projects can qualify for up to 25% of the cost, capping at $2,500 (single-family residential), $5,000 (multi-family residential) or $25,000 (commercial). There are $250,000 allocated for solar thermal each year.
What are my chances of winning?
Historically, 1 in 3 residential applicants are rewarded, and 1 in 10 commercial applicants. This year, rather than allocating a few large rewards, MiM has adjusted the rebate structure so that more rewards can be given. We are hoping that as many as 50% of residential applicants will be accepted.
Deadlines and Timelines
Applications are accepted January 1st to February 28th each year.
Because the economics of solar thermal are not as compelling as solar PV, the MiM solar thermal rebate program accepts applications beyond February 28th. They simply stop accepting applications when the funds have been allocated.
The program will expire in 2023.
What is the application process?
The application process takes about 5 hours. Don’t worry–that’s 5 hours of our time, but only about 45 minutes of yours.
The first step is for one of our energy consultants to evaluate the site for solar, including taking photos and doing a shading analysis (about 2 hours). The homeowner then applies for a Vendor ID Number (this is one step we cannot do for you, but we provide instructions and assistance), and the energy consultant draws up the site plan and the custom solar design, complete with equipment selection and cost break downs (about 1 hour). Everybody signs the paperwork, which the energy consultant submits through the online application portal (about 1 hour).
We offer site evaluations as a free service to the community. While we have charged $150 to fill out paperwork and submit the application in past years, for the 2016-17 season we are offering the service at only $75. If you decide to install solar–with or without the Made in Minnesota program–that $75 will be credited to your final bill.
What if I don’t win?
You can still qualify for Xcel’s other excellent rebate program, Solar Rewards. The rebate is lower ($.08/kWh rather than $.22/kWh for residential), but funds usually do not run out until late fall or early winter each year. So even if you don’t win the jackpot, that doesn’t mean you’re going home empty handed. You will still likely be $25,000 ahead with the Solar Rewards program, and the environmental benefit of solar is equal, whatever program you use.