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Minnesota solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Minnesota State 17 solar panels available

  • $0.56/W Average gross price of a solar power system as of May 2022
  • 2 years Average system payback period
  • 46 849 / 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

The website UI is really intuitive and I figured out what I want pretty quickly. Went for Canadian Solar panels plus a solaredge inverter. I went to their fulfillment center to grab my order, and they were very quick to bring it out. The staff really made sure to warn me that panels are fragile and I appreciate that. Drove the package home safely, unpacked, all good. Right now we’re in the middle of the installation process, they sent a letter asking how I’m doing and asked for a review. Here I am! The panels are nice and it was a pleasure doing business with you.
Lime
Via Trustpilot
Apr 7, 2022
Fantastic company. Everything went smooth and the shipped was fast. The customer service was great.
Joe M.
Via Trustpilot
Apr 5, 2022
So I’m from LA and everybody’s going solar here so though that I should too. But I was really afraid it would be too much of a hassle. Eventually i went on google and soon found a1store. They got a pretty website and lots of articles on solar, and I flicked through a couple. So I decided to contact them, they were very friendly and we scheduled a call with their engineer. He was very patient with me and explained all the basics that I needed to know.

So i made an order, one of their centers is nearby, so i ordered pickup. I drove there, and they warned me to drive the panels carefully and pack them well for the road. seems like it's a recurring thing that people break their panels on the way home. I was real careful and yeah, I got home safely. Panels are in my garage now. I already found the installer. we have to take care of some papers and then it’s on!
Jerry Burton
Via Trustpilot
Mar 23, 2022
Great selection of high quality solar panels, good pricing, fast shipping, everything arrived in great condition.
Paul
Via Trustpilot
Mar 8, 2022
I ordered some solar panels. The top 4 ones were damaged during delivery (A1 had emailed me in advance what to check for before I took delivery which I followed even though the truck driver was pushing not to inspect them as thouroughly) and A1 replaced them in a timely manner and kept me informed. The price on the panels were some of the best on the internet (delivered). I would buy from them again.
Robert Broughton
Via Google
Nov 27, 2021
I ordered some solar panels but during delivery, the top 4 were broken by the shipping department.

A1 replaced them and kept me informed when the replacements would be in. I would buy from them again.
Robert Broughton
Via Trustpilot
Nov 27, 2021

Review us on Google or Trustpilot

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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