In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature established the Made in Minnesota (MiM) Solar Incentive Program. The program aims to help Minnesota meet its new solar electricity standard and to boost the local solar industry. It is a cash-back incentive program for Minnesota residents and business who install solar thermal systems that are manufactured in the state.
Entities of all sizes are getting in on the action, and you can too. However, MiM is a complicated program with multiple components and considerations. The basic steps are below:
1) Find out if your location is suitable for solar
The Minnesota Solar Suitability App can help identify the solar potential for homes and businesses in Minnesota.
2) Learn about incentives and rebates
Going solar can make economic sense. Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) for a complete list of financial incentives for solar systems. It includes information on the 30 percent federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (good through December 31, 2016); incentive programs, rebates, and loans from utilities and state agencies; and state sales and property tax exemptions.
3) Find a solar installer or solar site assessor
If your home or business has a good location for solar, your next step is to find an installer and complete a solar site assessment. A third-party source, such as the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, can provide an independent site assessment for approximately $250. Many solar installers provide this assessment at no cost. The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTS) have developed the Clean Energy Project Builder to help find solar installers in your area. In addition, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers the highest level of certification of solar PV and solar heating installation energy professionals throughout North America. Request bids from at least three different solar installers. Each bid should contain the number and type of solar modules, the total size of the system, its expected energy output over time, and the total cost.
4) Submit a MiM application
MiM applications are accepted annually from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. Your qualified solar professional will complete the MiM incentive application for you. You will be required to sign the application form before it can be submitted. The MiM application guidelines provide a complete step-by-step overview of the application procedures.
5) Install your system
If you receive a MiM funding notice, you will be required to confirm your reservation. To confirm your reservation you will need to submit to Solar.firstname.lastname@example.org a Minnesota Vendor ID and a signed installation agreement. Once these have been submitted you will receive a funding reservation confirmation. You’re now ready to install your system and interconnect to the utility’s power grid. Your solar professional will generally handle the permitting and interconnection process on your behalf.
Every payee (company, organization, or individual), receiving a Made in Minnesota (MiM) production incentive or rebate check is considered a vendor of the state of Minnesota. In order to receive your MiM payments, you will need to register online for a vendor ID. To register for a vendor ID go to the Minnesota supplier portal and click on the “Vendor Registration Link”. When you register, you will be assigned a user ID and password. Follow the step-by-step instructions and remember there may be several steps you will be able to skip. Your vendor ID number will be emailed to you.
Through the supplier portal you will be able to track your MiM payments and change where your payments are sent. Keep your new State of Minnesota vendor number, user ID, and password in a secure place where you can find it easily. You will need this information for accessing the Supplier portal.
6) Claim your incentive
When your project is installed and operational, your solar professional will submit the MiM notice of completion incentive claim form.