You are on page 1of 9

Solar Electric Rebate Program

Minnesota Department of Commerce


Office of Energy Security
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-2198
(651) 296-5175 y (800) 657-3710 y TTY (651) 297-7891
www.energy.mn.gov

Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program

Thank you for your interest in the Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program. The information you need to apply for
a solar rebate is attached. Additionally, you may also want to reference our Renewable Energy Contractors list
available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security (OES) website before interviewing
solar installers. See www.energy.mn.gov; click on Renewables and click on “Solar.” *

Here are basic steps to help you determine if a solar electric system is right for you:

1. The Minnesota Office of Energy Security strongly recommends having an energy audit prior to
installing a solar electric system.
Energy efficiency and conservation are the first steps in any successful energy improvement plan. The less
energy you use, the farther your renewable energy generation will go. You may contact your electric utility to
request an energy audit. Alternatively, the Minnesota Building Performance Association website offers a list
of home performance consultants. See http://www.mbpa.us/ and click on ‘Find a Consultant.’

The cost for an energy audit varies depending on the depth of analysis. Ideally, the energy audit should
include an electrical inventory and provide a written report with specific steps for reducing your electricity
load. Even with the rebate program benefits, the cost of solar electricity is expensive so you will want to
be sure that your household or business is as efficient as possible to maximize the benefits of your solar
energy system.

2. Complete a site assessment.


The best way to find out whether you have a good location for a solar energy system is to have a
professional site assessment. A site assessment will provide information about the suitability of your site for
solar and the best place to locate and orient your system. A site assessment will also evaluate the solar
resource available at your location and offer recommendations on solar applications that are appropriate for
your site. This is a critical step for anyone considering either solar electricity or solar water heating. Please
note that it is customary for solar contractors to charge a fee to perform a site assessment. You should only
need one, even if soliciting two bids.

This is a good time to contact your utility to learn about interconnection. Each utility may have slightly
different procedures and requirements. In particular, you should ask about any fees associated with
interconnection and net metering.

3. Secure financing.
There are several ways to fund your solar electric system including a home equity loan, mortgage refinancing,
or a capital improvement loan.
In addition to the rebate to assist with the cost of the system, the state of Minnesota offers:
ƒ Property tax exemption for solar energy systems, so your new system will not increase your property
tax bill;
ƒ A state sales tax exemption for solar equipment; and
ƒ Eligibility for net metering for up to 40 kW of generation capacity. This means that your utility will
credit your bill at retail rate for any excess electricity generated by your renewable energy system.
*
Not all installers listed in the Renewable Energy Contractors list are eligible to participate in the Solar Electric
Rebate Program. See page 2 of the application for a list of criteria. OES does not endorse installers included in the
Renewable Energy Contractors list.

July 2009
Additional incentives may be available through federal tax incentives and/or your electric utility. For an
updated list of federal, state, and utility incentives visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable
Energy website at http://www.dsireusa.org/.

4. Choose an installer.
Choosing a solar installer who provides comprehensive design, equipment, and installation services is an
important step. It is best to obtain more than one estimate before hiring an installer. An estimate should
include the cost of hardware, shipping, labor, connection to the utility grid, and travel. It is customary for
installers to offer bids that are good for a period of two weeks due to volatility in solar panel availability and
pricing.

A good contractor will acquire permits, assist with rebate forms, and obtain an approved utility
interconnection agreement for you. Be sure to verify that the installer you choose is eligible to participate in
this program. See page 3 of the application in this package for the criteria.

The North American Board of Electrical Practitioners (NABCEP) offers nationally recognized certification
for solar professionals. This certification ensures that a solar contractor has obtained a minimum level of
experience, training, and knowledge. See http://www.nabcep.org/ for a list of NABCEP certified solar PV
installers.

Please note that the Department of Labor and Industry advises homeowners to avoid contractors who ask the
client to pull the necessary building and electrical permits. Call (651) 284-5069 to speak with a building
contractor investigator if you have questions about who should pull permits.

5. Apply for a rebate.


To apply for rebate money from the Solar Electric Rebate Program, submit a completed application to:
Solar Electric Rebate Program
Minnesota Office of Energy Security
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-2198
FAX 651.297.7891
Stacy.Miller@state.mn.us

Within 30 days of receiving a complete application, we will notify you whether your application has been
approved. Do not purchase or begin installing solar equipment until you receive a Rebate Confirmation.

You have 9 months from the date of Rebate Confirmation to complete the system. When the installation is
done and you have a utility interconnection agreement, you may submit a Rebate Claim form to the above
address. You should receive payment within 30 days.

6. Congratulations! You are now generating your own electricity and helping to protect Minnesota’s
environment.

Thank you for your interest in solar!

Stacy Miller
Minnesota Solar Program Manager

July 2009
STEPS TO RECEIVING THE MINNESOTA
SOLAR ELECTRIC REBATE
Installing a solar electric system requires an advanced
understanding of proper electricity and building practices.
Your local electric utility and/or local building officials will
need to approve the installation before you can receive the rebate.
A publication on how to hire a solar installer including a list of Minnesota solar installers is available at:
www.energy.mn.gov > Renewables > Solar > Purchase & Installation

INTRODUCTION
1. Educate yourself about the basics of solar electricity. Select a solar electric installer that you feel comfortable working with. (See publication
Hiring a Renewable Energy Contractor at www.energy.mn.gov)
2. Make sure your solar installer is working with your electric utility on the interconnection agreement and local officials on any applicable
building and installation codes.
3. Select a solar electric system with your solar installer that meets the program’s requirements and your project goals.
4. Make a copy of your rebate application materials for your own files and mail or deliver the originals to:
Solar Electric Rebate Program
Minnesota Office of Energy Security
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul, MN 55101-2198

IMPORTANT: Do not install any equipment before receiving a Rebate Confirmation Form in the mail indicating that your application
has been approved. Failure to comply with any specification at any point in the rebate process may disqualify you from receiving a rebate.
5. Have the solar electric system installed and then approved by any applicable local building officials and your electric utility.
6. Photocopy and submit your rebate claim materials to the Solar Electric Rebate Program.
If everything is complete, you will receive a rebate check within 30 days.
IMPORTANT: The system needs to be completed and approved by the electric utility no later than 9 months from receipt of the Rebate
Confirmation Form.
Rebate extensions may be made on a case-by-case basis and must be requested at least five business days prior to the expiration date.

Rebate Application Checklist:

1. Rebate Application Form


2. Evidence of Intent (application for interconnection or contract with $500 minimum down payment)
3. Photos of proposed installation site
-A panoramic photo or series of 5 (five) photos from 90° to 270° through south
-A photo of the proposed installation site
4. Solar shading analysis (Pathfinder, Suneye)
5. End User Agreement
6. Solar Rebate Site Diagram

The Office of Energy Security’s web site has a solar information page with information and web links that may prove useful to you in your
efforts to install a solar electric system:http://www.energy.mn.gov, then click on Renewables > Solar. 7/09-Page 1
MINNESOTA SOLAR ELECTRIC REBATE

PROGRAM DETAILS
Eligible Participants
• The subject property must be within Minnesota borders.
• Both grid-connected and off-grid systems are eligible.
• For residential applications, only primary residences are eligible.
• Small businesses with 20 or fewer full time equivalent employees are eligible. Others may contact energy.info@state.mn.us regarding
funding opportunities for schools, local governments, commercial, industrial, and non-profit organizations.
• Program participants from a past Minnesota solar electric rebate program are not eligible for the current program.

Program Details
Rebate amount Rebate amount Rebate amount
Solar Contractor Qualifications through January 1, 2010- after
December 31, 2009 June 30, 2010 July 1, 2010
Licensed electrical contractor or $1.75 per watt TBD TBD
licensed general contractor with at
least two solar PV installations of at
least 0.5 kW in previous 12 months
NABCEP certified PV installer $2.00 per watt TBD TBD
* Rebate levels subject to being adjusted to provide maximum benefit.
Maximum Eligible Rebate
Small business 10 kW
Residential 5 kW
Larger systems are eligible, but rebates will
be based on the above system size limits.

Participants must submit a Rebate Application Form and materials to reserve a rebate before any installation work is done. Rebate
applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis as postmarked or delivered, until the total rebate budget for the program has been
reserved. Applications that are mailed to the Department will be time stamped as having been submitted at 4:00 on the date of postmark.
Participants have 9 months from the receipt of the Rebate Confirmation Form to install their solar electric system and submit a rebate claim
along with required documentation.
The completed Rebate Application must be submitted with the following items:
• A signed contract and evidence of a $500 or greater down payment on services from a solar electric contractor OR application for utility
interconnection;
• A site assessment completed by a professional solar site assessor or solar contractor that indicates that the site qualifies under program
guidelines
• Solar Rebate Site Diagram complete with distances and heights of surrounding objects
• Site photos as described in program guidelines.
Net rebate amount will not exceed total amount of installation including federal tax credits, state rebates, utility rebates or other rebates.

A Rebate Claim Form and Rebate Confirmation Form will be mailed to you once your application is approved. Claim your rebate by
submitting the Rebate Claim Form and appropriate documentation within nine months of receiving the Rebate Confirmation Form.
Rebate recipients must consent to supplying the Office of Energy Security with documentation of the electricity generated by the solar electric
system. (See the End User Agreement.)
The total funding for this program is up to $2,750,000. See www.energy.mn.gov for all Solar Rebate program information including the Solar
Hot Water Rebate Program and the Solar Air Heat Program.

No installation work should be done before receiving the Rebate Confirmation Form. Failure to adhere to this requirement may void the rebate.
OES reserves the right to adjust these guidelines as necessary.
7/09-Page 2
Rebate Application Form Changes:
• Major changes, such as change of purchaser, location, or increases in system size, require reapplication or prior written approval. Decreases
in the size of the solar system do not require prior approval, but must be documented on the Rebate Claim Form and supporting materials.
• Requests for extension of the rebate expiration date must be done in writing.
• Incomplete applications will be returned.

Eligible Equipment
1. All of the major system components including panels and inverter must be new.
2. Photovoltaic panels must come with a 20-year or greater manufacturer’s warranty and must be certified as meeting the most current edi-
tion of Underwriters Laboratory Standard 1703 (UL1703). (As of June 2009 the current edition of UL 1703, the Standard for Flat-Plate
Photovoltaic Modules and Panels is Third Edition, Revised April 2008.)
3. All grid-tied, sine-wave inverters must be certified as meeting the current edition of Underwriters Laboratory Standard 1741 (UL1741),
come with a minimum two-year manufacturer’s warranty, AND offer the purchaser the option to extend the warranty to at least five
years. It is up to the owner’s discretion whether to extend the warranty. (As of June 2009 the most current edition of UL1741, the
Standard for Inverters, Converters, Controllers and Interconnection System Equipment for Use With Distributed Energy Resources, is
First Edition, Revised November 7, 2005.)
4. The rebate cannot be used in combination with the purchase of equipment that has or will receive Xcel Energy Renewable Development
Fund support.

Installation Requirements
1. Installations are subject to the requirements and provisions of Minnesota statute (216B.164), Minnesota rules (Chapter 7835), the currently
adopted edition of the National Electrical Code, and electric utility requirements.
2. Installations must follow all applicable building and zoning codes.
3. Installations may be tracking or must have an azimuth angle (direction the solar panels are facing) within 45° of due south (180° is due
south).
4. Fixed-tilt installations should have a solar panel tilt angle between 20 and 60 degrees.
5. Participants must demonstrate that the system will not be shaded by buildings, trees, electricity poles, towers, chimneys, etc. using a
shading analysis tool and site photos.
a. Participants are responsible for ensuring an accurate representation of the site.
b. Installations should be free of shading at all times of the year within a degree range of +/- 45° of the azimuth.
c. The Program Administrator reserves the right to reject any application if the installation site is compromised by shading.
d. The Program Administrator reserves to right to do site inspections.
6. Installations must be performed by professional installers in order to qualify for a rebate. All electrical work must be performed by a
licensed electrician working for a licensed electrical contractor.
7. The installer must provide information to the participant about operation and performance considerations relating to shading, snow
cover, and maintenance of the system.

How to fill out the site diagram


A site diagram is a drawing of your solar installation’s location and nearby objects that might shade the system. It is designed to help interpret
the pictures you include with the application form.

Top-View Diagram (see diagram on page 4)


1. Draw the proposed location of the solar panels using the appropriate symbols.
2. Determine the direction the solar panels will face using a compass.
3. Draw any objects that are taller than the solar panel’s location and may block the sun either during the day and/or the year using the
appropriate symbols.
a) You do not need to draw objects that are located behind the solar panels unless they reach over the top of the solar panels, such as
a tree branch.
b) Estimate the appropriate width at the widest point of each object.
c) Measure and make note of the distance from the solar panels to each object. Indicate on diagram.

7/09-Page 3
7/09-Page 4
MINNESOTA SOLAR ELECTRIC
REBATE APPLICATION
APPLICANT
Name Select one:
Residential Business
Organization
Site Address if different:
Mailing Address

City, State, Zip

Phone

E-mail Electric Utility

Are you a past solar rebate recipient? Yes No Account #

If residential, is this your primary residence? Yes No Is this new construction? Yes No

For small businesses: does your business have 20 or fewer full-time employees? Yes No

SOLAR INSTALLER
The solar installer must meet the following criteria to be eli-
Name
gible to install under this program.
Mailing Address A licensed general contractor or licensed electrical
contractor with at least 2 PV installations in previous
City, State, Zip
12 months license #
Phone Does your business have at least two solar installations in
E-mail previous 12 months? (list addresses and size in kW)

All electrical work must be performed by a licensed electrician working for a


licensed electrical contractor:
Electrician License #
Is lead installer NABCEP Solar PV certified? #
(not required)

INSTALLATION INFORMATION
Solar Module Manufacturer Inverter Manufacturer

Solar Module Model # Inverter Model #


• Thin film? Yes No • Inverter Rating kW
• Number of modules • Warranty years
• Module rating watts System type (circle one) Fixed Seasonal Single Axis Dual Axis
• System rating (sum of solar panels) kW Location (circle one) Roof Ground
• Module warranty years Azimuth (orientation) degrees
• Tilt of panels (if fixed) degrees Interconnection (circle one) Grid-tied Off-Grid
• Battery system? Yes No # and rating

DECLARATION
The undersigned warrants, certifies and represents that: (1) the information provided in this form is true and correct to the best of my knowl-
edge; and (2) the installation will meet all Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program requirements.

SIGNATURE
I have included: Evidence of Intent Photos Solar shading analysis diagram

Signature Signature
Applicant Solar Installer
Print Name Print Name

Date Date

Office Use: 7/09-Page 5


Date App. Rec.: App. #: Date of Letter Rebate Amount $
END-USER AGREEMENT
Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program

I. I agree to provide the Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy


Security (OES) with solar electricity generation data from my solar system for a period of four
years either through inverter or separate meter readings.

II. I agree to provide OES, or its contractors, access to the proposed solar installation site for the
purpose of conducting a site audit. The results of the audit may be used to verify the data
submitted in a Solar Electric Rebate Application and to determine eligibility.

III. If necessary, I agree to provide OES, or its contractors, with access to any photovoltaic hard-
ware and related components on my property as necessary for the completion of ongoing
research related to the Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program. Access will be scheduled
with the applicant at least seven working days in advance.

IV. If necessary, I agree to allow OES and its contractors or subcontractors to install electricity
data collection devices on my property so that information from my solar electric energy
system may be retrieved and included in research being conducted by OES. I understand that
data collected from the photovoltaic system on the property may be made available to the
public. Access will be scheduled with the applicant at least seven working days in advance.

V. For grid-connected systems, I authorize my electric utility to release data related to the
amount of electricity produced by the rebated solar electric installation.

Print Name

Signature

Date

If grid-connected:

Electric Utility

Electric Utility Account #

7/09-Page 6
Definitions:
AC – alternating electrical current (grid electricity)
Anti-islanding test – a utility engineer will test your completed system for safety before your interconnection contract is processed
Azimuth – the direction in degrees your solar panels will face (due south is 180 degrees). To qualify for this rebate, this angle
must be between 135° and 225°
Building code – check with your city and/or county offices to see if a building permit for the solar installation is necessary
DC – direct electrical current (solar panel or battery electricity)
DC rating – solar panel capacity, measured in watts
End-User Agreement – agreement between applicant and the Office of Energy Security to provide data on the electricity
produced by the solar system
Evidence of Intent – evidence that you are serious about participating in the solar rebate program; $500 down payment to the installer
or interconnection application
Grid connected – PV system is interconnected to an electric utility; when the electricity load is greater than the solar PV system is generating,
the utility meets the electricity load automatically
Interconnection contract – a contract with the electric utility to let a customer sell electricity back to them; utilities must use standard state
contract (MN Rule 7835.9910 www.leg.state.mn.us)
Interconnection guidelines – safety and technical requirements for your solar installation
Inverter – converts DC electricity from the solar panels into AC electricity
Kilowatt (kW) – 1000 watts (five 200 watt solar panels = 1 kilowatt)
Minnesota Rule Chapter 7835 – Minnesota’s net metering rules (www.leg.state.mn.us)
Minnesota Statute 216B.164 – Minnesota’s net metering statute (www.leg.state.mn.us)
National Electrical Code Article 690 – national electrical safety standards for photovoltaic systems established by the National Fire Protection
Association (www.nfpa.org)
Off-grid-PV system – not interconnected to an electric utility
Solar panel warranty – solar panels in the rebate program must have a 20 year or greater warranty
Photovoltaic – (PV) a semiconductor that converts sunlight to direct current electricity
Renewable Development Fund (RDF) – an Xcel Energy fund for renewable energy
Solar Electric Rebate Application Form – the form to apply for a photovoltaic system rebate
Rebate Claim Form – a form to receive your rebate once your solar installation is complete; form is mailed to applicant upon approval (sent with
Confirmation Form)
Rebate Confirmation Form – the form you receive once you are approved for a rebate; work must not begin until you receive this form
Rebate queue – the order in which approved rebates are reserved; distributed on a first-come, first-served basis
Renewable Energy Credit (REC) – also known as green tags, a REC represents the value of all environmental and social attributes in a Megawatt-
hour of renewable energy; REC can be sold or traded independently from the electricity it is associated with
Site pictures – pictures of the location you intend to install the solar panels AND panoramic images from East to West through South
Shading Analysis Tool – a device used to accurately chart the total shading at a specific location. (Pathfinder, Suneye, ASSET or other compara-
ble brand are acceptable)
System rating – the sum of all of the solar panels to be used in the system (# of solar panels x DC rating of solar panels)
Tilt angle – the angle from horizontal at which the solar panels are positioned if they do not have tracking capabilities
Tracking – a solar system component that actively moves the solar panels to face the sun throughout the day, year-round

7/09-Page 7