Minnesota solar power facts
Average cost of a 5kw solar power system in 2016
Price shown before incentives
Average payback time
Average lifetime savings
Price shown after repayments of capital
Levelized cost of solar energy
If you don't get solar
The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years
(per kW of peak DC solar panels)
Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 5kw system
Solar companies in Minnesota that provide pricing through the Solar-Estimate marketplace
Solar power in Minnesota
Minnesota has a bit of a mixed bag when it come to Solar Incentives.
The Federal 30% Tax Rebate and net metering apply regardless of where you are in Minnesota but the utility level incentive changes depending on whether you are a customer of Xcel Energy or another utility.
Although Minnesota has a RPS ( Renewables Portfolio Standard) and a specific solar carve out it is one of those states where you have to give your solar carve out to the utility in order to get the utility level incentive and this is why we won't talk any further about solar carve out on this page.
The price of electricity in Minnesota is below the national average at $0.12 this combined with lots of snow sitting on Solar Panels at different times of the year means that payback times on a average 5kW system are out past 10 years.
Whilst this is not as good as some other states it is still a 10% return on investment which is not too bad in my book when I am only getting 1% on my money in the bank.
To put it another way whether i buy solar or not over the next ten years I spend the same on power.
If I don't buy solar then in ten years I face another 15 years of paying higher and higher power bills.
If I did buy solar in 2017 then in 2027 I am in the same position cah wise but I'm looking forward to 15 years of free power.
Estimate your solar savings
Compare solar quotes from the top solar companies in Minnesota
Best brands of solar panels
To find the best brands of solar panels you can use America's most trusterd solar panel comparison and reviews website, SolarReviews.
However, reviews of solar panels can be a bit meaningless because most consumer owners have not had any issues and so whilst solar company reviews are very important when choosing solar installers they are of less use when choosing solar panels.
For more information to help you make an informed decision about this topic, I would recommend this article about buying solar panels.
Compare solar quotes from the top solar companies in Minnesota
How much electricity will solar panels produce in Minnesota
Solar panels produce different amounts of energy in different locations.
Around the Saint Paul area solar panels installed on a south facing 35 degree pitch roof will typically produce:
1,150 kWh per year per 1kw of peak DC (direct current) capacity
For more information about how your location, roof direction and roof tilt affects solar power production use the solar panels calculator and enter your address below.
What rebates, solar tax credits and other solar incentives are available in Minnesota
Minnesota Power Performance Payments for Xcel customers
In Minnesota customers of Xcel energy can enroll in the Solar Rewards program, this pays up to $0.08 per kWh (kilowatt hour).
If you buy a 6kw system and install it on a south facing roof your solar power generation will be 7,413 kWh per year.
The solar carve out and Minnesota SREC's
Minnesota has a RPS ( Renewables Portfolio Standard) and a specific solar carve out it is one of those states where you have to give your solar carve out to the utility in order to get the utility level incentive and this is why we won't talk any further about solar carve out on this page.
This makes this incentive worth approximately $5,913 over 10 years.
System's up to 20kW sized to produce less than 120% of your usage qualify for this program.
Savings can be significant and this program is expected to run for about another 10 years. It also has an annual budget of 5 Million, get in early peeps.
Furthermore if you buy your panels from a Minnesota panel manufacturer you're able to get a $0.27 kWh on top of the Xcel payment, sweet.
Conditions and rules apply your local Solar Pro will be able help with this stuff.
Minnesota Solar Incentives for utilities other than Xcel Energy
The rebate incentive program run by the various Utilities in Minnesota pays different rates depending who you buy your power from.
Below is a table that shows the relevant info. It seems you need to apply for this rebate and conditions apply. Your local Solar Pro will have the info that is applicable to you.
|Utility||Rebate Amount||Cap per system|
|Brainerd Public Utilities||$2,000/kw||$4,000|
|Moorhead Public Service Utility||$1,500/kw||$30,000 total program budget|
|New Ulm Public Utilities||$1,000/kw||$2,000|
|Owatanna Public Utilities||$500/kw||$5,000|
|Rochester Public Utilities||$500/kw||$5,000|
Conditions and standards apply and any rebate must be applied for prior to construction of a solar system.
Minnesota's net metering law, enacted in 1983, applies to all investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives.
Each utility must compensate customers with systems less than 40 kW in size for net excess generation (NEG) at the average retail utility energy rate, defined as the total annual class revenue from sales of electricity minus the annual revenue resulting from fixed charges, divided by the annual class kilowatt-hour sales.
Compensation may take the form of an actual payment (i.e., check for purchase) for NEG or as a credit on the customer's bill.
There is no cap on the aggregate amount of net metered solar systems in Minnesota.
Cost of Solar Systems in Minnesota
You should be able to buy good quality solar power systems from reputable installers in the range of $3.20 to $3.70 per watt, before incentives and fully installed.
At this sort of price level you are talking about a payback period around 10 years a lot of people are OK with sort of payback time. Heck the solar panels warranty is for 25 years.
Is it better to lease or purchase solar panels in Minnesota?
Whilst third party ownership of solar panels Minnesota
has made various zero down solar lease and solar PPA products popular in MN generally speaking you will make far greater savings over the life of a system if you purchase your solar panels (whether with cash you have available or through a HELOC loan) rather than enter into a third party owned solar lease or Solar PPA agreement.
You can use the solar savings calculator to see the difference in the overall savings over the life of a system.
Regardless of what you want to know about the economics of installing solar panels for your home or business in Minnesota we have a solar calculator that can show you exactly the information your require.
You can either use our full monty solar calculator that shows you everything you could possibly want to know or you can use one of our range of smaller calculators for specific solar calculations that focus on providing you only with the specific information you require.
What you can find out about installing solar panels in Minnesota using our full monty solar calculator
This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - It tells you:
- What size solar system do you need?
Answers the question of How many solar panels do I need?
- How many square feet of roof space you need for solar panels
- Solar electricity production in annual kWh (kilowatt hours) you can expect from your solar system in Minnesota
- The value of solar tax credits and other incentives you are entitled to based on the estimated size of system you need, your location and your utility provider.
- Likely cost based on an average of prices charged for solar systems of that size in the last year in Minnesota or Saint Paul;
- The likely payback period on your solar panels and your investment return.
- Your total lifetime solar savings based on each of the major solar finance options, a cash purchase, a cash purchase funded with a HELOC sol (home equity line of credit) and a zero down PPA or third party lease product.
If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.
How much do solar panels cost in Minnesota
$3.10 per watt
Cash purchased solar system
Before 30% solar tax credit
$3.50 per watt
Financed solar system
Before 30% solar tax credit
Av. 15 year term, 2.5% price escalator
What are the pros and cons of buying solar panels for your home in Minnesota
The advantages of installing solar panels solar panels in Minnesota is there is both state based incentives and the federal tax credit. In addition Minnesota also has a rebate if you purchase panels made in Minnesota, a win for you and local jobs, that's awesome.
The disadvantage of installing solar panels for your home in Minnesota is that there is less overall solar irradiation in Minnesota per year and so a solar system, produces a bit less than it would in some other areas. The other thing is power is cheap compared to many other states, and that's obviously not a bad thing but it pushes out payback times. However, the local incentives more than make up for this and I think Minnesota homeowners will be kicking themselves they didn't install solar panels while these generous incentives are still around.