Minnesota solar incentive program opens applications

Solar panels in Pelican Rapids
Solar panels in Pelican Rapids, Minn., where Lake Region Electric Cooperative put in this array.
Ann Arbor Miller | MPR News 2014

Minnesotans interested in adding solar electricity or heating to their properties can apply now for the state's solar incentive program.

Residents and businesses installing solar thermal systems can get a one-time rebate of up to 25 percent of the installed cost. The application period ends Feb. 28.

Run by the Commerce Department, the Made in Minnesota program helps consumers who choose solar products manufactured by Minnesota companies. It funded more than 700 solar projects during its first two years.

The cost of solar compared to traditional sources of electricity has been a challenge, but prices have dropped significantly.

Demand for solar electricity has accelerated over the last few years and will continue to grow as utilities look to reduce carbon emissions linked to climate change, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said.

Minnesota must reduce carbon emissions from power plants by more than a third by 2030 under new federal rules.

"We will need more solar and other kinds of renewable energy in a significant way," Rothman said. "This is sort of just a step in the right direction."

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