Customer FAQs Contractor FAQs Tips From Tony - Working With Solar Contractors Choosing a Solar Installer Project Financing and Tax Credits RPU's DER Rules, Regulations, and Processes NOVA Power Portal
Solar energy provides environmental and financial benefits. With the increasing popularity of this renewable energy, RPU wants to make sure our customers are educated and have resources about installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
How Does Solar Work?
When sunlight hits solar cells, they produce electric current. This is fed to an inverter, often in the basement, garage, or on the back of the solar panels, which converts this energy into AC current compatible with your house and the electric grid. When you connect your solar PV system to the grid, it is referred to as a Distributed Energy Resources Interconnection.
Is Solar Right For You?
If you are thinking about solar energy, first find out if it’s right for you.
- Read our Customer FAQs. For Contractors, read our Contractor FAQs.
- RPU strongly recommends you begin with an energy audit. Participate in RPU’s free Neighborhood Energy Challenge workshop that is held several times throughout the year. Attendees qualify for an energy audit for only $50 which will identify the areas in your home where energy loss occurs. This can help you determine which efficiency improvements are recommended before installing solar panels, which may mean you’ll save money by needing fewer panels.
- Take RPU’s free class, Solar Energy for Your Home or Business, offered twice a year through Rochester Community Education
- Talk to a Solar Contractor.*
* A Tip From Tony about Working With Solar Contractors
RPU has been made aware of solar contractors soliciting door-to-door around Rochester, promising possible financial and conservation results. RPU does not endorse or work exclusively with a solar contractor, but our energy experts make these recommendations if you encounter a door-to-door solar contractor:
- Ask to see their current City of Rochester peddler’s license that gives them permission to solicit door-to-door.
- Verify their qualifications, ask for credentials and references, and get multiple quotes from other contractors.
- NEVER share personal or RPU billing information.
- Contact RPU Customer Care at 507-280-1500 or send us an email with questions on solar rebates and interconnection.
View our Tips From Tony video on YouTube about working with a Solar Contractor.
Choosing a Solar Installer/Contractor
For tips in hiring a solar installer/contractor, visit this page on the Minnesota Commerce Department’s website.
For help in finding a solar installer/contractor, visit this solar directory on the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) website.
Project Financing and Tax Credits
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems provide environmental and financial benefits, but they are also a significant investment. To make installation more affordable, there are a few helpful options:
- Minnesota Center for Energy and Environment (CEE): Residential Solar Financing Program
CEE’s Residential Solar Financing Program is to help homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their homes using solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. Utility rebates and tax credits may be included in the loan amount.
- Federal Tax Credits
RPU's DER Rules, Regulations, and Processes
RPU’s rules, regulations, and processes for interconnecting a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) to RPU’s distribution system and for maintaining these DERs can be found on the NOVA Power Portal under the heading the Distributed Energy Resource Document Library.
The RPU board has adopted rules, regulations and processes for interconnecting DERs to RPU’s distribution system and maintaining DERs which are based on State statutes and rules. They were generated in conjunction with other municipal utilities through Minnesota Municipal Utility Association which creates consistency across the state’s municipal utilities. This makes it easier for DER installers since they do not need to deal with disparate rules for each utility.
If you choose to connect your solar PV system to the utility grid, the State of Minnesota requires all PV systems apply for interconnection. You and your contractor can do this through the RPU’s NOVA Power Portal. On this portal you can browse interconnection information, status of projects, and learn more about installing your own renewable energy system.
Installing a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System
Your solar contractor should coordinate all installation planning and requirements, but here are some helpful links, should you be interested:
- Use NREL’s PVWatts® Calculator to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations:
- Learn more about the City of Rochester's Solar System Installation Requirements.
How to Read Your Distributed Generation Bill
A general guide on how to read your home's Distributed Generation bill can be found here: How to Read Your Utility Bill with Distributed Generation.
Questions on other RPU charges, see our complete How to Read Your Bill.
Have More Questions?
Contact RPU Customer Care at 507-280-1500 or send us an email with any additional questions you have!