Going solar in Minnesota

In Minnesota, an average home needs a 7kW solar system in order cover most of their electricity needs. Given the average residential price-per-watt of $4.13 in Minnesota, a 7kW system can cost around $28,910 depending on applicable rebates and other factors.

Select your county by clicking on the map and see the potential generated solar power and panel pricing. See how it compares with the US state average.

Average out-of-pocket cost for a 5 kW system The upfront amount spent to buy and install solar.
Minnesota: $20,650US Average: $19,594
Average Payback Period The number of years until you break even on the solar investment.
Minnesota: 16 yearsUS Average: 13 years
Average Net 20-year savings The total amount of money saved over 20 years minus the out-of-pocket cost.
Minnesota: $4,979US Average: $10,133

Solar Potential in Minnesota

Estimated system size and solar electricity production per median viable roof in
Minnesota.

Roof size 724sq. ft.
Capacity 10.13kW DC
Electricity 11.5kkWh AC per yr.

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Compare solar panels by system size in Minnesota

Get the most value out of your roof by comparing the different benefits a given system size has.

System Size 3kW
Roof Size Min. space required
215 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $564 a year
Est. Price
$12,390
Savings from a 3kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 4,172 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $47
  • Full payback in 22 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 1.92 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 88 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 4,763 mi less a year
System Size 4kW
Roof Size Min. space required
286 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $752 a year
Est. Price
$16,520
Savings from a 4kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 5,563 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $63
  • Full payback in 22 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 2.57 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 118 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 6,350 mi less a year
System Size 5kW
Roof Size Min. space required
358 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $940 a year
Est. Price
$20,650
Savings from a 5kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 6,954 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $78
  • Full payback in 22 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 3.21 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 147 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 7,938 mi less a year
System Size 6kW
Roof Size Min. space required
429 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,128 a year
Est. Price
$24,780
Savings from a 6kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 8,344 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $94
  • Full payback in 22 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 3.85 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 177 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 9,525 mi less a year
System Size 7kW
Roof Size Min. space required
501 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,317 a year
Est. Price
$28,910
Savings from a 7kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 9,735 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $107
  • Full payback in 23 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 4.38 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 201 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 10,838 mi less a year

Minnesota solar incentives, tax credit, and rebates

Minnesota has 20 rebates and tax credits that you may be eligable for. Visit the official links for more details to see if you apply.

Solar incentives in MN

Rochester Public Utilities - Solar Rebate Program

Value:Up to $500

Residential and business customers of RPU, the municipal electric utility for the city of Rochester, may be entitled to rebates on new solar photovoltaic devices and components. New system installations will yield a $500 incentive regardless of their rated capacity. Systems should meet all city, state, and federal standards and be interconnected to the grid under a net metering contract. To apply, customers must first schedule an energy audit to verify quantitative efficiency improvement. Additional information is available from the RPU website.

Owatanna Public Utilities - Solar Rebate Program

Value:Up to $500

Commercial and residential customers of OPU, the municipal power utility for the city of Owatonna, may be entitled to rebates on solar PV systems and water heaters. Rebates add to existing federal tax incentives. New PV installations will yield a $500 rebate regardless of their rated capacity. Water heaters yield a rebate based on the area of the panels; the current rate is $15 per square foot. To qualify, systems should meet all city, state, and federal standards and be interconnected to the grid under a net metering contract. Interested customers should schedule an energy audit with an OPU participating solar contractor.

Marshall Municipal Utilities - Solar Thermal Water Heater Rebate Program

Value:Up to $2,000

Residential customers of MMU, the municipal utility for the city of Marshall, may be eligible for special rebates on new solar water heaters. The incentive amount will depend on the physical size of the solar panels. Currently, MMU will pay $20 per square foot up to $2,000. Rebates add to state-level tax credits and exemptions. Additional information is available from the MMU website.

Austin Utilities - Solar Rebate Program

Value:Up to $1

Residential and commercial customers of AU, the municipal electric utility for the city of Austin, may be eligible for rebates on new solar PV systems and water heaters. Qualifying systems should meet all state and federal standards, be installed by a certified solar contractor, and be interconnected to the grid under a net metering arrangement. Should a system meet these qualifications, owners can earn a rebate of $500 for PV or $15/square foot of water heater collector area. Application forms are available from the AU website.

Minnesota Power - SolarSense Solar Rebate Program

Value:Up to $10,000

Minnesota Power customers may be entitled to rebates on new solar photovoltaic systems. To qualify, a system must meet all state and federal standards, be installed by a certified solar contractor, and be interconnected to the grid under a net metering contract. The incentive amount is determined through an NREL tool which considers the system's rated capacity and other design characteristics. Current rates are 56 cents/estimated kilowatt hour of production in the first year of the system's use. Minnesota Power must preapprove all incentives. Customers must therefore apply for the rebate before purchasing their system. Additional information is available from the website.

Value of Solar Tariff

Value:Varies

Net metering in Minnesota is set to be replaced by a Value of Solar (VOST) tariff program standardized by the Department of Commerce. No utility has implemented such a program as of 2021, though Xcel Energy is exploring retail-rate tariffs in a similar vein to VOST. VOST operates as an "inflow-outflow" program. Customers are technically billed for all electricity they generate, including excess generation (EG) sent to the grid. Rather than paying for all generated energy, however, they will only owe the cost of their "nettable energy" in that cycle. Nettable energy is equal to total power generated at the standard billed cost minus EG at a different "credit rate." As with net metering, should generation exceed consumption, the remaining credits will be applied to subsequent cycles. VOST contracts last for 20 years; credit rates are fixed for the length of the contract. "Virtual VOST" provisions exist to compensate microgrid subscribers in proportion.

Farm Opportunities Loan Program

Value:Varies

New sustainable farm equipment may be eligible for special financing through Minnesota's Farm Opportunity Loan Program. The program is administered by the state Rural Finance Authority in conjunction with various funding partners. Loans can cover up to 80% of purchase and installation costs. The RFA assumes responsibility for servicing 45% of the principal up to $45,000. Interest on the RFA portion is 3%; the remaining 55% will accrue interest at the current market rate. Additional information is available from the RFA website.

Dakota Electric Association - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Value:Varies

Residential and commercial customers of the Dakota Electric Association may be entitled to rebates on a variety of energy-efficient improvements. Available rebate offers will vary from time to time. Current offers include rebates on large appliances, lighting, insulation/weatherization, central/room HVAC, and new solar PV or geothermal heat systems. Rebate amounts depend on the type of project and how much efficiency it will add to the property. Additional information is available from the cooperative website.

Xcel Energy - Renewable Development Fund Grants

Value:Varies

NOTE: This program appears to be defunct as of 2013. Xcel Energy has administered a Renewable Development Fund since 1999. The fund's annual budget amounts to $9 million, the result of a state-set rate per nuclear waste reservoir at the Prairie Island, Minnesota plant. Additional funding comes from a surcharge on Xcel customer bills in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Grant programs supported by the fund usually take the form of requests for proposals (RFPs). Xcel details grant revenue and spending in an annual report submitted to the state legislature, and grant recipients produce similar supplementary reports on their projects' environmental impact. Additional information is available from the Xcel website.

Owatonna Public Utilities - Residential Conserve and Save Rebate Program

Value:Varies

Residential customers of OPU, the municipal utility for the city of Owatonna, may be eligible for rebates on energy-efficient appliances. Qualifying appliances will vary from time to time, but currently include fridge/freezers and room air conditioners certified by ENERGY STAR. To qualify for a rebate, the owner must recycle their previous appliance. OPU will cover any fees incurred from the recycling of appliances as a part of the rebate. Additional information is available from the OPU website.

Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) Tariff

Value:Varies

Utilities in Minnesota are required to participate in Community-Based Energy Development tariff programs (C-BED) to support the construction and onboarding of new renewable energy facilities, including solar and wind farms. C-BED contracts last for 20 years. During the term, the state will pay utilities at a fixed rate for the energy they produce. The underlying goal is for utilities to more easily recoup the costs for their renewable facilities. Additional information is available from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission website.

Value-Added Stock Loan Participation Program

Value:Varies

The Minnesota Rural Finance Authority (RFA) operates a stock financing program to aid farmers in purchasing shares of nearby wind farms or biomass energy facilities. Loans are offered by private banking partners, though the RFA sets loan terms and low interest rates for up to 45% of the principal. Qualifying applicants must not be worth more than $450,000. Additional information is available from the RFA website.

Minnesota Power - Power Grant Program

Value:Varies

Minnesota Power manages a large-scale energy efficiency grant program. Up to $50,000 in awards may be available to businesses and farmers investing in energy efficiency improvements, including new renewable energy systems and experimental technologies. Grants depend on the applicant's need and projected energy savings. They are supplemented by rebates of $200/kW of the improvements' rated capacity. Additional information is available from the Minnesota Power website.

Fix-Up Loan

Value:Varies

Minnesota homeowners making energy efficiency or accessibility improvements may be eligible for special loans from the state Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). "Fix-Up Loans" have a maximum of $15,000 in principal at market-rate interest. Applicants have direct access to MHFA lending partners and can negotiate loan terms. They may also use the contractors and builders of their choice. Lending partners differ between the 11-county Twin Cities area and the rest of the state. Additional information is available from the MHFA website.

Rural Minnesota Energy Board PACE Program

Value:Varies

The St. Paul Port Authority operates a PACE program in Duluth, Mankato, and certain Twin Cities suburbs and exurbs. Property owners will have access to an open market of local lenders offering competitive loans and terms for energy efficiency improvements. Effectively, funding comes from the government; repayment will therefore take the form of a tax lien senior to the property's mortgage. Residential structures are not eligible for PACE loans due to regulatory concerns from the FHFA. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are prohibited from acquiring a mortgage with an active PACE lien. Additional information is available from the Port Authority website.

Minnesota PACE Program (MinnPACE)

Value:Varies

The St. Paul Port Authority operates a PACE program in Duluth, Mankato, and certain Twin Cities suburbs and exurbs. Property owners will have access to an open market of local lenders offering competitive loans and terms for energy efficiency improvements. Effectively, funding comes from the government; repayment will therefore take the form of a tax lien senior to the property's mortgage. Residential structures are not eligible for PACE loans due to regulatory concerns from the FHFA. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are prohibited from acquiring a mortgage with an active PACE lien. Additional information is available from the Port Authority website.

Interconnection Standards

Value:Varies

Distributed generation and interconnection practices are standardized by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Standards were last updated in 2019 and continue to be amended regularly. Unlike states which use tiers and levels to organize energy systems, Minnesota uses permit processes as benchmarks. Systems at a qualifying capacity level may be eligible for a "Fast Track" permit review. All systems must follow recognized standards such as those set by IEEE or UL. Customers may be required by their utility to carry liability insurance coverage or install additional safety features.

Renewable Development Fund (RDF)

Value:Varies

Xcel Energy has administered a Renewable Development Fund since 1999. The fund's annual budget amounts to $9 million, the result of a state-set rate per nuclear waste reservoir at the Prairie Island, Minnesota plant. Additional funding comes from a surcharge on Xcel customer bills in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Funding supports incentive programs and other initiatives to adopt renewable energy. The University of Minnesota's Institute for the Environment also taps into the fund for its own research. Additional information is available from the Xcel website.

Xcel Energy - Solar*Rewards Program

Value:Varies

Solar*Rewards is the formal name for Xcel Energy's net metering and distributed generation tariff incentive programs nationwide. Under Minnesota law, renewable energy customers hold ownership of renewable energy credits (RECs) they generate. With a Solar*Rewards contract, the customer agrees to sell all RECs to the utility for a fixed amount of time and have a bidirectional meter installed on their system to track energy sent back to the grid. In exchange, the utility will provide fair compensation for both excess generation and credits accrued. To qualify for incentives, a new PV system must pass an engineering audit and not exceed 20 kW of DC capacity. Leased systems do not qualify for Solar*Rewards contracts. Additional information is available from the Xcel website.

Marshall Municipal Utilities - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Value:Varies

Residential customers of MMU, the municipal utility for the city of Marshall, may be eligible for rebates on new energy-efficient systems and appliances. Available rebate offers will vary from time to time. Current offers include incentives for ENERGY STAR-certified fridge/freezers, washer/dryers, dishwashers, central/room HVAC, water heaters, dehumidifiers, and solar/geothermal systems (through a separate program). Customers may also receive financial assistance to certify their entire home with ENERGY STAR through an initiative targeted at new construction. Additional information is available from the MMU website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • As a general rule, unless there are local limitations, the main limitations to the amount of solar panels you can put on your roof are the available space on your roof, your electricity usage, your providers net metering rules, and the limitations of your house hold electrical system.
  • Based on our research the average price per installed watt is $4.13 in Minnesota. This means for a 10kW system you can expect to pay $41,300 though pricing can vary significantly between installers based on the projects requirements.
  • Based on a Zillow research study from 2019, home with solar panels sell for roughly 4.1% more.
  • To generate the most power, solar panels in the United States should face true south as this generally results in the solar panels receiving the most light each day throughout the course of the year. That said, given that energy prices are often variable throughout the day, your installer may recommend you rotate your panels slightly so that the panels will receive more light at the end of the day when energy prices can be more expensive. That said, for most consumers the positioning of solar panels is highly dependent on your home's roof.
  • Based on our continuously updated database of solar installers, we have found 19 verified solar install companies in Minnesota

Solar installers in Minnesota (19)

Academy Energy Group

Newburgh, IN(812) 518-2150

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Auditing of energy requirements for independent energy generation.
  • Monitoring of independent energy generation.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

Solar Farm

St. Paul, MN(651) 271-8410

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

Dividend Finance

San Francisco, CA(415) 805-7000

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Sundial Energy

St. Louis Park, MN(612) 439-9591

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

SunPower Corporation

San Jose, CA(800) 786-7693

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Monitoring of independent energy generation.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.
  • Consulting on all things solar related.

Harvest Solar

Jackson, MI(888) 907-6527

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.
  • Consulting on all things solar related.

Sunnova Energy

Houston, TX(866) 786-6682

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

GRNE Solar

Palatine, IL(312) 859-3417

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.
  • Consulting on all things solar related.

Entegrity

Little Rock, AR(800) 700-1414

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Ideal Energy

Fairfield, IA(800) 634-4454

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

LightEdison

Denver, CO(888) 966-6377

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Empire Solar Group

Salt Lake City, UT(800) 467-4562

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
Last Reviewed By: Matt Hope
Published: 2022-07-05