Here’s the round up:
- Made in Minnesota
As we highlighted in our last newsletter and recent blog post, Made in Minnesota (MiM) is an incentive program aimed to build jobs in Minnesota through the use of locally made solar thermal and solar electric products. A lottery-based program, people with either Xcel, Ottertail Power, Minnesota Power, and Alliant Energy as their electricity provider are eligible to receive rebates based on the size of the system (solar thermal) or how many kilowatt hours (kWh) a system produces annually. Entering into its second year, the Minnesota Department of Commerce – Division of Energy Resources will continue to allocate the $15 million for solar electric and $250,000 for solar thermal over the next ten years. Residential systems and commercial and non-profit systems each have 10kW and 40 kW systems size limit respectively and their own incentive amount. Customers will still also benefit from traditional Net Metering savings from their utility with a combination reduction in on-site energy usage as well as credit for any excess energy produced. Learn more about MiM, here.
Application Time Period: January 1st – February 28th, 2015
- Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards®
For those living within Xcel territory, you’re in for another treat as Xcel has recently revamped its program for Minnesota customers. Solar*Rewards offers incentives and rebates for residential solar electric installations; customers will benefit $.08 per kWh produced by their system over ten years instead an upfront, one-time payment from past years. Additionally, the energy produced by the solar system reduces their bill via traditional net metering interconnection. Residential systems are allowed to 20kw instead of 10kW limit on MiM’s program, increasing the owner’s energy saving and payback. Xcel Energy’s Renewable Development Fund is providing $5 million annually for the program to show Xcel’s dedication to meeting its goal to provide 1.5% of Minnesota’s via solar by 2020.
Learn more about Solar*Rewards, here.
- Focus on Energy’s Cash-Back Rewards Program
While the exact amount of funding for the 2015 Renewable Rewards Program to be officially announced, we can be excited to have an incentive system for those solar-curious Wisconsinites. Focus on Energy is an energy efficiency and renewables resource program for Wisconsin utilities with the goal of making the lives of residents and businesses greener. Incentives will remain the same as last year’s. Installations with qualifying solar electric equipment will earn $600 per kW DC installed with a maximum of $2400 through the Cash-Back Rewards program. Unlike the Minnesota incentives, over a hundred Wisconsin utilities (https://focusonenergy.com/about/participating-utilities) are apart of the program and rewards can be reserved before the system is built, which is a significant change from last year. Another requirement is the system must be installed by a Trade Ally such as Energy Concepts. Learn more about Focus on Energy’s program, here.
Applications Available: January 1st, 2015
- USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program
Aimed at agricultural producers and small rural businesses, Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers support to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems and use renewable technology to reduce energy consumption through the Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program. Requirements include that agricultural producers derive at minimum 50% of their gross income from their operations and small businesses fit the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Size Standards. Loans can fund up to 85% of the project, while grants can fund up to 25% of eligible project costs or a maximum of $500,000. Due to the second 2014 funding cycle being delayed until 2015, there will be three funding cycles in 2015; March, April, and October. Learn how REAP can assist in your rural business, here.
Contact us for information on how to apply for REAP.
Being that applications for lottery-based MiM are due February 28th, and that Solar*Rewards incentives are on a first-come, first-serve basis, it is best to plan ahead. Why not start thinking about adding solar to your future now? Take some time as you ring in the New Year to consider if you you’d like an easy, achievable, and money-saving Resolution this year, then toast to a new year, friends, family, and harnessing the power of the sun!