USDA PROGRAMS / UTILITY PROGRAMS

USDA Programs

USDA Reap Grants:USDA Reap Grants are now available for farmers, and businesses located in non-metro communities under 50,000 people. The Reap program provides cash up to 50% of project cost, and you still retain the 30% or 40% Investment Tax Credit. Use your property to earn long-term annual income ($6,000+) and save operating expenses while using only 1/4 acre on your property. Most qualify using your local utility’s net metering programs. It is an incredible opportunity to earn income with little risk.

EPF Solar is uniquely positioned to help file for the grants providing both the technical and client information required (without any additional costs), and design/build/commission your solar project at cost less than competitors. We have the experience to know how to maximize the scoring to receive the USDA Reap grant. Note that filing dates are by the end of each quarter so best to get started as soon as possible. Call us today 612-889-4780 for more information.

Utility Programs

Utility Programs: Most utilities provide some type of program to compensate for installing a solar system. Below are the most common:

Solar Rewards:
Xcel Energy offers a Solar Rewards solar production incentive up to 60kw DC/ 40kw AC in size for non-profits starting in 2023. Solar Rewards for commercial projects was discontinued in 2023.

Net Metering:
Utilities, whether a cooperative, municipal, or Investor Owned Utility (Xcel, Mn Power, Otter Tail), will pay you the retail energy rate for any production that is not used internally for projects up to 60kw DC/40kw AC.
Incentive Amount: Under net metering, at the end of a monthly billing period the earned income is generally credited to the next month’s bill. Projects that exceed the customer’s energy usage may take the form of an actual payment typically at year end.

Demand Credit Rider:
The Xcel Demand Credit Rider is a Standby Credit to qualified customers for installing solar to offset the utility demand side management. Projects are sized larger than 40 kw AC on up to 1 MW. Xcel is required to compensate businesses to offset their need for standby generation.
Incentive Amount: Credit is issued to owners of solar systems at a rate of .06887/kWh for solar system production between the hours 1 PM-7 PM, 7 days a week, up to 100 hours per month during summer, 75 hours during other months.
History: The electric utilities must maintain sufficient generating capacity and transmission capacity to supply a customer’s peak demand at any given time. The utility does not know for sure when the peak demand might come, but it has to be ready. Most of the time the utility’s generating and transmission capacity sits idly by waiting to spring into action whenever customers demand it. It is expensive to maintain that excess generation and transmission capacity. Utilities charge customers for the costs of having power ready on demand. MN PUC decided that Xcel should compensate larger users that install solar systems the same as Backup/Stand-by generation.

Community Solar Gardens:
A utility that offers a community solar garden (CSG) program must compensate systems at the rate approved with the utility. Current law caps the project size to 1 MW AC.

Storage :
Energy Storage added to a solar system can be used to not only reduce demand usage, but also supply backup for critical operational items. Storage has now become cost effective. EPF Solar is involved at various levels to make sure we design and size your project correctly.

Incentive Amount:
 Energy storage qualifies for a 30%-40% Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

Additional programs may be available depending upon project location.