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Minnesota solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Minnesota State 41 solar panels available

  • $0.71/W Average gross price of a solar power system as of October 2022
  • 3 years Average system payback period
  • 46 236 / year Average savings from going solar in Minnesota
  • 4 ¢ / kWh Levelized cost of solar energy
  • 5.22 kW Recommended system size

Benefit from a PV system
in Minnesota

Solar panels in Minnesota

Minnesota #42 in the US
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What our happy customers say

Hi all, i wanted to share my experience of buying from a1solar. I needed panels for my yacht. I wanted to have only 3, but they have a minimum order size for delivery so I opted for pickup. It was good. It went smoothly. I appreciate the split payment that they offer. I basically went to the center, grabbed the panels, loaded ‘em in the truck and drove them home (gotta do it carefully though!). Nice guys too. peace, Carl
Caarl Arlac
Via Trustpilot
Oct 2, 2022
I did business with A1 about half a year ago (it’s september 22 atm) when I needed panels for my home in Phoenix. I took Panasonic, if anyone’s wondering. The system’s doing great, and I think I got really lucky with my installer and the shop as well. If I recall correctly, my order was indeed processed in 24h as promised, delivery took a bit longer than expected but it wasn’t a big deal, these were busy days for fedex. panels were in good shape. I myself checked them thoroughly.
Ryden R
Via Trustpilot
Sep 25, 2022
I like this company. Good service 👍
Daiga Ellaby
Via Google
Sep 19, 2022
i read too much about the broken panels and decided to go with the pickup option. Loved the experience overall. One of their centers was nearby, so I ordered some q cells for myself and drove there. They explained in detail how to drive the package home safely so I was really careful and yeah, now they are in my garage, waiting to be installed. Can’t really complain about anything, panels are fine, the service was cool, and the delivery was on me lol
loken
Via Trustpilot
Sep 19, 2022
So I did order a system, and everything arrived on time, and yes, one panel was broken. But you know what? I’m still going to give them 5 stars. Because 1) they warned me about the possibility of this happening and told me what to do in this case; 2) when I contacted them about it, they handled the situation professionally. I sent them all that they asked for and got a replacement relatively quickly. If it’s anyone’s fault that panels break, then it is the carrier's one. My impression: good service, great prices, commendable customer support.
Will Ghost
Via Trustpilot
Sep 14, 2022
I needed just a couple of panels for the boat, but the staff treated me like I was buying the whole warehouse. I decided to pick the order up myself, their center was within reach. Getting my panels and a Magnum inverter was easier than going for groceries. There is a lot of hard work behind this simplicity. This I know from experience
Filip Scot
Via Trustpilot
Sep 11, 2022

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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Minnesota you need to know

Return 26% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows homeowners to claim 26% of the cost of their solar power system installed until 2022 as an income tax deduction. For example, if your solar system costs $20,000, you are eligible for $5,200 (26% of the total gross cost) in tax credit. Solar system cost comprises not only the money spent on solar panels, but also freight shipping costs, professional installer fees, tools bought or rented and so on. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.

Sell excess electricity with Net Metering Program

Solar laws in Minnesota make Net Metering programs available to customers of all municipal and investor-owned utilities, as well as to those served by electric cooperatives. The program gives households an opportunity to send any excess electricity back to the grid instead of storing it with batteries.

When you sell your solar power to the utility, you receive credits that can be used to offset your next bills. In Minnesota their value is equal to full retail electricity price. If you have any unused credits at the end of the calendar year, they will be reimbursed at the utility’s avoided cost rate. In case you are a client of an electric cooperative or a municipal utility, the credits will expire without any compensation.

Save additional $300 to $1,000 a year trading RECs

Renewable Energy Credits are certificates granted to any person or entity upon generation of each MWh of clean electricity. Unlike with Net Metering, you don’t need to sell any electricity to get credits. The value of RECs is always changing, which makes them similar to stock market assets. Based on the available data, selling RECs could mean anywhere from $300 to $1,000 annually for a 10 kW solar system. To participate, you have to apply for approval to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. After that, you can create a REC account with the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) to begin storing and selling your credits.

Save up to $3,000 with solar rebate programs

Minnesota doesn’t have an initiative encompassing the whole state. However, some utility companies provide nice rebates for homeowners:

  • Dakota Electric Association allows you to claim $0.20 per watt of installed capacity, but no more than $4,000. The payment process is based on the production of your system as recorded by the company’s meter. You will get $0.08 for every kWh generated during the following ten years or until the rebate amount is exhausted.
  • Xcel Energy will pay its customers $0.07 for every kWh of energy during a 10 year contract term. The company will retain all RECs produced by the participating system. In most cases, the developer or installer will handle all paperwork on your behalf.
  • Minnesota Power offers the SolarSense rebate program. The company will pay $0.56 for every kWh of estimated production in the first year, but no more than $10,000 or 60% of the system’s costs. To qualify for the program, your system must be installed by a NABCEP or UL-certified professional that must offer a 2 year workmanship warranty. The panels must have at least a 20 year performance warranty and the inverters at least 10. The funds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The program begins applications processing on March 1 each year. All RECs produced by the system are retained by Minnesota Power.
  • Austin Utilities, Owatonna Public Utilities and Rochester Public Utilities each offer their customers a flat $500 rebate. All three have similar requirements: your PV system must be of at least 2 kW or larger, an energy audit must be conducted prior to the system’s installation and the equipment must meet all relevant safety and performance standards.

Buy solar equipment tax free and save 6.8% or more

In Minnesota, solar equipment is exempt from the state’s sales tax, meaning these additional 6.875% and all applicable local rates stay in your pocket. Solar equipment includes any device used to convert sunlight into energy. Anything needed to prepare the energy for storage or put it to use is also subject to the exemption, even the racks. Thus, everything you need to build a PV system of any scale can be bought in Minnesota tax free. To claim the exemption, buyers must complete Form ST3.

Freeze your property tax with Renewable Energy Systems Tax Exemption

A solar PV system installed in a home increases its value by about 4%, says 2019 Zillow report. In Minnesota you don't have to pay any extra taxes. According to the state laws, 100% of the value added as a result of acquiring a solar PV system shall be exempt from taxation. To claim the exemption, contact your local tax assessor.

Get a Fix-Up Loan at 4.99% interest rate to finance going solar

The Fix-Up program allows homeowners in Minnesota to take a loan to cover costs associated with acquiring a PV system. The loan amount is limited to $50,000 and the maximum term length is 20 years. You can finance an already started project and hire a contractor yourself. There is no prepayment penalty.

Protect your solar panels from shade with Solar Easements

A solar easement contract is a written agreement between two property owners, for example, you and your neighbor. This type of contract helps to maintain a stable supply of sunlight for your PV modules. A solar easement guards your panels from potential impairments, such as vegetation and structures. It is voluntary and must contain the description of protected space, a list of restrictions and a clause on revision or termination of the contract. Once signed, it is tied to the land, not the owner. Any such agreement must be created in written form and must meet the general requirements for easements on real property.

Install your solar panels in Minnesota with no worries

It is legal to install solar panels on your house in Minnesota. However, there is no statewide legislation that makes it unlawful to restrict installation of solar PV systems, so it’s best to contact your HOA or study its declaration and rules to find out more. You may have to submit your project for approval before changing the exterior of your house. The board may ask you to hide the system from view, reduce the number of panels or just reject your proposal.

Solar panels help Minnesota survive storms

Minnesota’s most frequent natural disasters include floods, wildfires and storms. These events inevitably damage the infrastructure, interfering with both generating plants and power lines. Your PV modules are designed to handle most hurricanes and hail, meaning you will have a supply of energy in case of a blackout. In 2013, weekend storms caused more than half a million power outages across the state. Often, it takes much more than a few hours to restore power. The Environmental Protection Agency says extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and powerful, adding to the list of reasons to go solar.

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