Minnesota Power’s Low Income Solar Pilot Program
The Low Income Solar Pilot Program provides funding for projects that make it possible for income-qualified customers to have easier access to solar power. Applications for projects that benefit income-qualified customers or facilities that serve income-qualified customers can be submitted by Minnesota Power customers, solar installers or developers, or community groups. A committee of seven Minnesota Power employees and seven regional stakeholders will review applications and award funding.
To be considered for funding, projects must meet the requirements listed below. Applicants also will be required to demonstrate how their project meets the following program design criteria:
- Energy Conservation. Projects should reflect Minnesota Power’s commitment to energy conservation by including an element of conservation education and/or demonstration. Low income projects should be additive to existing programs, but not redundant to them.
- Accessibility and Empowerment. Projects should empower customers to take control of their energy investments through education, training or hands-on experience. Projects should expand the opportunity for low income participation in solar programs.
- Consumer Protection and Affordability. Projects should demonstrate that the benefits outweigh the costs and provide full transparency of all project details including but not limited to detailed costs, benefits and financial arrangements.
- Sustainability and Flexibility. Projects should be flexible to accommodate changes as conditions and circumstances evolve and help support a viable solar market for low income customers.
- Community engagement. Projects should engage the community through increased awareness of available tools, resources and programs and provide an avenue for customers to participate in energy solutions.
- Innovation. Projects should include innovation through unique partnerships, structures or funding mechanisms.
- Accountability. Projects should describe their level of permanency and accountability including how the project benefits will or will not be passed to future beneficiaries or participants.
Participation Eligibility Requirements
- Customers receiving funds from the Low Income Solar Pilot Program must return a signed agreement before receiving payment. All participating customers are required to provide a final report describing results upon completion of the project.
- The project should benefit Minnesota Power retail customers that meet the income specifications outlined here. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate the largest impact to income-qualified customers, which could include renters.
- The project must result in the installation of a solar PV system in Minnesota Power’s service territory. Priority will be given to systems with a nameplate capacity of 40 kilowatts (kW) or less.
- Minnesota Power must retain ownership of all renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the system.
- Projects must be consistent with the program design criteria.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Low Income Solar Pilot Program?
Why is Minnesota Power offering the Low Income Solar Pilot Program?
Who can participate in the Low Income Solar Pilot Program?
What are the program participation requirements?
What are the program design criteria?
Will all projects receive funding?
How are projects selected for funding?
How much funding is available?
Will this program be offered again next year?
How can I get more information about the Low Income Solar Pilot Program?
How do I apply?
Interested parties can submit an application online here.
Project applicants will be invited to discuss their project with the Low Income Solar Program Committee, either in person or remotely, and answer any questions that the committee may have when determining which projects will receive funding. The spring 2018 committee meeting is scheduled for May 11, 2018 from 11 to 2 pm at Minnesota Power’s headquarters in Duluth, MN. Applications must be received no later than April 11, 2018 in order to be considered for funding at this meeting. Applications received after that date will be reviewed by the committee in the fall of 2018.
For questions about the program or application process, please call (218) 355-3720 and press 4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.