You paid $34,000 of a

St. Paul homeowner’s $50,000 rooftop solar system

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St Paul homeowners received a credit on their federal income taxes and a rebate from Xcel Energy to reduce the cost of their home solar electric system by more than 60%.

The federal government allows homeowners to take a credit on their income taxes of 30% of the cost of installing residential solar electric systems.

Xcel Energy gave the homeowners a one-time rebate when they installed their system. Xcel now pays residential producers of solar electricity annually based on the amount they produce, which adds up to hundreds of dollars a year.

The Made in Minnesota program offers rebates per kilowatt hour of electricity produced when the panels are certified as made in Minnesota. Our state commerce commissioner sets the amount of the incentive payment “by determining the average amount of incentive payment required to allow an average owner of installed solar photovoltaic modules a reasonable return on their investment.”

There is no sales tax on residential solar systems and no property tax on the increased value of the home.

Minnesota has 170 tax credit and rebate programs available to anyone interested in converting to solar.

If solar is such a good deal, why does it need subsidies? 

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The myth of oil company subsidies: According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal energy tax subsidies in 2013 were $16.4 billion–$7.3 billion for renewable energy and $3.2 billion for fossil fuels. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy spent $3.4 billion–$1.7 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy and $0.5 billion for fossil fuels.

Many of the supposed subsidies to the oil and gas industries are available to all U.S. businesses.

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