Minnesota residents can save a considerable amount on their energy bills by installing a more energy-efficient heating and cooling system and by replacing older appliances with new, Energy Star appliances. The upfront cost can be substantial, but utility companies throughout the state offer rebates for making these energy efficiency improvements. These rebates are in addition to any federal or state tax credits that may apply.
The amount of the rebates offered for heating and cooling systems depends on the efficiency of the unit – the more efficient, the higher the rebate. Appliances must be Energy Star certified and in many cases you can receive an additional rebate for recycling your old appliance if it is in working condition.
Heating and cooling systems
The various municipal utility companies that are members of the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency offer a common rebate of $200 for installing a new central air conditioner with an SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of at least 14.0 plus an additional $75 rebate for each additional SEER point above 14.0. Other utility companies offer different ranges of rebates depending on the SEER, up to $630 for a SEER of 16.0 or more in the case of East Central Energy.
Several utility companies including Connexus, Crow Wing Power, Elk River, Hutchinson, Lake Country and North Saint Paul offer rebates of from $25 up to $60 for an air conditioner tune-up. New Ulm offers a rebate of 25% of the costs, up to 30% of your previous year’s steam expenses, for repairing and modernizing your heating system.
Rebates for a new room air conditioner range from $15 to $50. Utility companies that are members of the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency offer a standard rebate of $25 plus an additional $25 rebate for recycling your old, working unit.
Rebates for heat pumps are generally on a per ton basis after meeting certain basic requirements. For example, the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency requires a closed loop ground source heat pump to have an EER (energy efficiency rating) > 14.1 and a COP (coefficient of performance) > 3.3. An open loop system must have an EER > 16.2 and a COP > 3.6. A direct expansion (DX) system must have an EER > 15.0 and a COP > 3.5. The rebate is $200 per ton plus an additional $25 for each 1 EER above the minimum qualifying efficiency. Several utility companies offer a rebate of $200 to $250 for a desuperheater.
A common rebate for an air source heat pump is $200 plus an additional $75 for each 1 SEER above 14.0. Connexus, East Central Energy and Lake Country offer rebates of $330 for a SEER of 13, $480 for SEER of 14, $580 for a SEER of 15 and $630 for SEER of 16 or more. Minnesota Valley offers a $500 rebate for an air source heat pump with a SEER of 13 or higher. Otter Tail offers a rebate of $12 per 1,000 heating BTU.
Furnaces installed in new construction or retrofits can qualify for a rebate of $100 to $200 if they have an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) of 92%. With an AFUE of 94% or higher, the rebate can be $200 to $300. Minnesota Power pays a $200 rebate for a furnace with an ECM (electronically commutated motor) and $300 for a standard split furnace integrated with an air source heat pump. New Ulm pays a $40 rebate for a furnace fan motor and offers a discounted price of $30 for furnace cleaning. Hutchinson pays a $50 rebate for a natural gas furnace tune-up.
Austin Utilities and Owatonna offer a $100 rebate on a boiler with an AFUE of at least 85%. The rebate is $220 for an AFUE of at least 90% and $300 for an AFUE of at least 95%. You can get an additional $100 rebate for a boiler with an indirect fire water heater. Alliant pays up to $400 for a furnace with an AFUE of greater than 91%.
Hutchinson and Shakopee offer a $150 rebate for a tank-less water heater with an energy factor of at least 0.8. Austin Utilities and Owatonna pay $200 for the same type of water heater, with a BTU input of at least 175,000. Minnesota Energy Resources offers a $250 rebate for a tank-less heater with an energy factor of 0.84.
Rebates on tank water heaters range from $25 up to $300, depending on size and efficiency. For a tank water heater with an energy efficiency factor of at least 0.92, Alexandria Light & Power will pay $200 for a 50-gallon or larger tank on a cycling program and $350 for an 80-gallon or larger tank on a curtailing program. Elk River pays a $300 rebate on a water heater with an energy factor of 0.91 or higher when used in its Off-Peak Water Heating Program. Lake Country offers $300 for converting uncontrolled electric water heating to off-peak controlled water heating (with a Marathon water heater) and $150 for converting an oil-gas water heater to off-peak water heating (also with a Marathon).
New Ulm will pay up to $400 of the labor and materials cost for installing a separate electric water heater meter. Minnesota Energy Resources offers a $250 rebate for an integrated space and water heating system with a CAE (combined annual efficiency) of 90% or greater. Minnesota Energy Resources also pays a $150 rebate for installing a drain water heat recovery device, and Minnesota Power pays $400.
Rebates for Energy Star refrigerators and freezers range from $15 up to $100. Many utility companies offer a rebate of $25 to $50 plus an additional $20 to $75 for recycling an old working unit. The most common rebate is $25 plus $50 for recycling.
Energy Star dishwashers can qualify for a rebate of $25 to $100, with $25 being the most common. Clothes washers generally earn a rebate of $50, within a range of from $25 to $100 among the various utility companies. Dehumidifier rebates range from $10 to $65, in some cases with the trade-in of a working unit.
If you are an Alliant customer, you can get a rebate for 70% of the total cost of installing attic insulation, up to a maximum of $500. The insulation must have a minimum factor of R-19 up to a maximum of R-38. Owatonna will pay $0.10 per square foot plus an additional $0.05 per square foot if an energy audit was conducted within the previous 24 months and the audit recommended additional attic insulation. The rebate is capped at 50% of material cost. The insulation must be factor R-38 or better.
Otter Tail pays a $300 rebate for a residential demand control unit. Shakopee provides a $75-value home efficiency check-up free of charge, a $150-value home efficiency analysis for $35, and a $250-value home efficiency inspection for $100. Shakopee also pays a rebate of $15 for each replacement door or window with a U-factor of 0.35 or less.
Applying for rebates
Many of the utility companies have rebate applications forms you can download from their websites. There are differing requirements and time limits for applying for rebates. Some rebates are available as long as funds last. You can check your local utility company by following the links in the list under Sources to find out the specific requirements and availability of rebates in your area.
Alexandria Light & Power – 2009 Rebates
Alliant Energy – Minnesota Incentive Programs
City of Anoka – Residential Rebates
Austin Utilities – Conserve and $ave
Blooming Prairie Public Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Connexus Energy – Rebates
Crow Wing Power – Controlled Electric Heating/Cooling Programs
Dakota Electric Association – Rebates
East Central Energy – Residential Rebates
Fairmont Public Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Hutchinson Utilities – Energy Conservation – Residential Customers
Lake City Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Lake Country Power – Rates and Rebates
Litchfield Public Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Marshall Municipal Utilities – Rebates
Minnesota Energy Resources – Energy-Saving Rebates
Minnesota Power – Rebates and Energy Savings Tools
Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative – Rebates
Mora Municipal Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
New Prague Utilities Commission – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
New Ulm – Rebate/Reimbursement and Billing Programs
North Branch Municipal Water & Light – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
North Saint Paul – Energy Efficient Rebates
Otter Tail Power Company – Rebates
Owatonna Public Utilities – Residential Forms
Preston Public Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Princeton Public Utilities Commission – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Redwood Falls Public Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Rochester Public Utilities – Conserve and Save
Saint Peter Municipal Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Shakopee Public Utilities – Residential Rebates
Spring Valley Public Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Stearns Electric Association – Residential/Farm: Rebates & Grants
Waseca Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Wells Public Utilities – Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Wild Rice Electric – Rebates
Willmar Municipal Utilities – Energy Rebate and Credit Programs
Xcel Energy – Programs and Resources