Solar gives you energy independence, greatly reduces your carbon footprint, and saves you money over the long term. Even though the cost of solar power has come down a lot in the last few years, it is a significant upfront investment. Luckily, in Minnesota there are several incentives in place to reduce this cost.
The ITC Federal Tax Credit is a 30% tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties, and will expire at the end of 2016.
The Made in Minnesota Initiative is a Minnesota state program that pays a varied amount (based on panel ownership and panel manufacturer) per kilowatt-hour of solar electric production for ten years. It is a lottery-based program.
Solar * Rewards with Xcel will pay 8 cents per kilowatt-hour of electrical production on your solar system for ten years, up to a system size of 20 kW. Other electric utilities have their own solar incentive programs.
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is run by the USDA and provides loan financing and grant funding for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install or buy renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.
In some cases, there are some financing options that will work well to lower the cost of a system. However, this can sometimes add to the payback time of the system.
It is true that a typical residential solar system will take 10 years to pay for itself (out of its 25 year warranty). And if the cost of a solar still seems daunting, remember that there is no “payback” option for your conventional electricity bill. The money you pay to your utility for electricity will never come back to you.
By making an upfront investment, you can secure your energy future for decades, drastically reduce your carbon footprint, and save a lot of money in the long run. Money isn’t all that you’re saving.