By January 31, 2014, the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) must develop a distributed solar value methodology and submit it to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval. The DOC must consult with stakeholders in order to develop the methodology, which must take into account: the value of energy and its delivery; generation capacity; transmission capacity; transmission and distribution line losses; and environmental value.
The Metropolitan Surface Water Management Act aims to protect, preserve, and use natural, surface, and groundwater storage and retention systems; identify and plan for means to improve and protect groundwater quality; establish more uniform local policies and controls for surface and groundwater management; prevent the erosion of soil into surface water systems; and promote groundwater recharge.
The Border Cities Enterprise Zone Program provides business tax credits to businesses that invest, develop, expand, and create jobs in identified Border-Cities Enterprise Zones. Companies may be eligible for property tax credits, debt financing on new construction, sales tax credit on equipment, machinery, and materials, and employee tax credits.
The Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Loan program will provide loans to Minnesota residents actively engaged in farming for capital expenditures which enhance the environmental and economic viability of a farm. Loan proceeds may be used for a variety of purposes including projects related to on-farm energy production, energy use reductions or efficiency improvements, and solar powered equipment. Projects must result in both environmental improvement and improved profitability.
Stearns Electric Cooperative offers a variety of rebates to residential and farm members for making energy efficiency improvements in eligible homes. Rebates are available for Energy Star appliances, HVAC equipment, and water heating equipment. All appliances must be Energy Star rated, and other equipment must also meet specific efficiency standards. Certain HVAC rebates may vary based upon system efficiency. Rebates and additional program information can be found on the program web site.
Stearns Electric Association, through a program offered by Rural Utilities Services, offers its members low-interest Energy Resource Conservation (ERC) loans. The complete cost of making approved energy conservation improvements may be eligible for financing with an ERC loan at 5% interest. Up to $5,000 for qualifying improvements to homes, businesses, or agricultural buildings at least one year old. The maximum repayment schedule is set at 60 months on a $5,000 loan. Financed improvements to a residence must meet the criteria as outlined by the ERC loan program guidelines.
To encourage energy efficiency, Stearns Electric offers rebates to agricultural, industrial and commercial customers. Under this program, premium efficiency motors, adjustable speed drives, industrial cooling, retrofit and new construction lighting, dairy plate coolers, dairy free heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and vending machine controllers are eligible for rebates. Some rebates vary by system efficiency or capacity. Customers must contact Stearns Electric for certain incentive amounts which are not listed on the program web site.
The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) uses federal funding to stimulate private-sector lending and improve access to capital for small businesses and manufacturers that are credit worthy but not getting loans they need to expand and create jobs.
The initiative allocates up to $15.4 million into three state programs:
- The Capital Access Program
- Emerging Entrepreneurs Fund
- Small Business Loan Guarantees
And for businesses certified to participate in the Angel Tax Credit Program:
An association organized for the purpose of addressing issues on a specific lake or river, a lake improvement district, or a lake conservation district may apply to the Star Lake Board for designation as a star lake or river.
Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency ([http://www.smmpa.com SMMPA]) is a joint-action agency which generates and sells reliable electricity at wholesale to its eighteen non-profit, municipally-owned member utilities, and develops innovative products and services to help them deliver value to customers. With help from SMMPA, Spring Valley Public Utilities provides incentives for its residential and commercial customers to improve the energy efficiency of homes.