Getting Started with Solar Landing Page
This webpage contains information about solar energy in La Crescent. La Crescent is part of the SolSmart program, a national designation program through the Department of Energy. SolSmart is a national recognition program which encourages cities to make it faster, easier, and more affordable to grow solar energy.
About Solar Energy
Solar energy can be used to generate electricity, to provide hot water, and to heat, cool, and light buildings. Minnesota is a great place for solar energy. Believe it or not, much of the Midwest has the same solar potential as Tallahassee, FL and Houston, TX! Through a combination of utility rebates and new technology, solar electricity continues to become more affordable and a more common part of our energy system.
Glossary of Solar Energy Terms:
Zoning, Permit and Inspection Process
Complete and thorough applications for small rooftop solar PV permits will be processed in 3 business days. The permit application may be submitted for review by way of the Online Portal at City of La Crescent Solar Permit
For solar systems in La Crescent, the following permit process is required:
- Electrical permit, through the State of MN
- City of La Crescent Solar Permit (user must create an account)
- Zoning certificates may be required as specified in the zoning ordinance.
- Electrical inspections occur through a State inspector, more information can be found on the state webpage
- For more information on electrical permitting, contact our state inspector at (507) 346-7164
Interested in your own solar energy system?
Wondering if a particular site in Minnesota is good for solar energy? The Minnesota Solar Suitability App can help. This tool displays the solar potential of every spot in the state of Minnesota. With this data, and the services provided through this application, home and business owners can easily identify the solar potential of their property.
How can I find a solar developer?
Minnesota is home to many solar companies. The Clean Energy Project Builder is a great place to find an assortment of clean energy businesses including solar installers, community solar garden developers, energy auditors and more. Wondering what questions to ask? Check out The State of Minnesota’s list of questions to ask potential renewable energy installers
How can I find a community solar garden?
Community Solar Gardens are centrally-located solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity to participating subscribers. Xcel Energy customers can participate in projects offered by private developers. Members of other utilities in Minnesota can subscribe to a community solar garden if one is offered by their electric utility. Follow this link for great resources to learn more about if community solar is right for you.
What is La Crescent doing around solar energy?
La Crescent is participating in SolSmart, a national program that provides free technical assistance with addressing local barriers to solar energy. Through this program, La Crescent is working to make it easier for residents and businesses to choose solar energy.
Community Solar Metrics
City of La Crescent Permitted Solar PV Installations:
2021 – 6
2022 – 6
Annual solar PV permit turn around is 2 business days.
Is Financing Available for Solar Energy Projects?
Residents interested in installing photovoltaic solar panels (the kind that produce electricity) on their property can access financing through the Center for Energy and Environment. Click here for more information. Businesses can finance solar energy projects through a tool called “Property-Assessed Clean Energy”, or PACE, in which energy-saving measures are paid for through property taxes. This can work well even for businesses that rent their space. More information on PACE financing is available here.
Interested in Employment in the Clean Energy Sector?
The MN Clean Energy Job Board is a tool that job seekers can use to find jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy fields, and that employers can use to post their latest openings.
Additional Links to Solar Resources
Other Solar Resources – Minnesota Commerce Department Home Solar Information,
Minnesotans are often surprised to learn that our state has annual solar resources similar to areas of Florida and Texas. As consumers learn more about solar potential in Minnesota, demand will continue to rise. Advance in technology, declining equipment costs, and financial assistance in the form of tax credits and incentive make solar an attractive clean energy option. If you are interested in powering your home with solar energy, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help. Click on the link below for more information.
Solar Energy for Homes / Minnesota Department of Commerce – Energy (mn.gov)
The federal residential solar energy credit is a tax credit that can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar PV system paid for by the taxpayer. (Other types of renewable energy are also eligible for similar credits but are beyond the scope of this guidance). The installation of the system must be complete during the tax year.
Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics
Solar photovoltaics are new to many of our city’s residents. Homeowner Associations may impose restrictive measures on solar PV systems. Please click on the links below which can help you make an informed solar photovoltaic purchasing decision.
Solar Consumer Protection Mn Commerce Dept_
Minnesota HOA homeowner Right to Go Solar Statute
Minnesota Solar Laws
- Solar Zoning a. Minnesota Statute 462.357 Subd.1, (cities) 394.25 Subd.2 (counties)…a municipality may by ordinance regulate on the earth’s surface, in the air space above the surface, and in subsurface areas,…access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems…
- Solar and Wind Easements. Allows the purchase and holding of easements protecting access to solar and wind energy.
- Allowance for Solar Variance a. Minnesota Statute 394.25 Subd.7, 462.357 Subd.6(2) Variances; Practical Difficulties. Variances shall only be permitted when they are in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the official control and when the variances are consistent with the comprehensive plan[…] Practical difficulties include, but are not limited to, inadequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems […].
- Enabling solar access in subdivision regulation a. Minnesota Statute 462.358 Subd. 2a. Officials Controls: Subdivision Regulation; Dedication. The regulations may prohibit, restrict or control development for the purpose of protecting and assuring access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems.
- Property Taxes a. Minnesota Statute 272.02 Subd. 24. Exempt Property. Solar Energy Generating Systems. Personal property consisting of solar energy generating systems […] is exempt. i. Principal uses (solar farms or gardens) – the land on which the system is located shall be classified as class 3a property. ii. Accessory uses – the solar energy system is disregarded. b. Minnesota Statute 272.0295. Solar Energy Production Tax. Applies only to systems with a capacity greater than 1 MW and establishes a tax rate of $1.20 per megawatt hour. The production tax is paid to the county in which the system is located.
- Beneficial Habitat Standard for Solar Farms a. Minnesota Statute 216B.1642 encourages solar site design and management practices that provide native pollinator habitat and reduce stormwater runoff. Creates a technical standard for beneficial habitat, administered by the Board of Soil and Water Resources.
Solar Checklist :
Jason Ludwigson – Sustainability Coordinator – City of La Crescent JDLudwigson@gmail.com