MN350’s Guide To Minneapolis Renewable, Weatherization, & Energy Efficiency Programs

Accessing the benefits of clean energy and building efficiency has never been easier. In recent years, Minneapolis has rolled out new weatherization upgrades & renewable energy programs for businesses, homeowners, and property owners.

These programs have been expanded to help reach businesses impacted by the pandemic and last summer’s uprisings. They continue to provide support for small businesses to access the benefits of green energy through solar, electrification, and other opportunities for renewable energy upgrades like geothermal.

The Minneapolis efficiency programs also improve community health and wellbeing by reducing emissions and creating well-paying, green jobs.

Our Green New Deal team, which works to advocate for a just, sustainable energy economy in Minnesota, put together an overview of the top available programs. Scroll down to see a breakdown of each program’s different costs and benefits.

Table Of Contents
    • What Is Electrification?
    • What Is Weatherization?
    • What Counts As An Energy Upgrade?
    • Minneapolis Solar & Energy Efficiency Programs
    • Find The Right Program For You
        • Lake Street Council Energy Smart Program
        • Minnesota Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
        • innesota Interfaith Power & Light Small Business Solar
        • The Minneapolis Green Cost Share Program


Electrification is the process of replacing old, fossil-fueled-powered heating systems, cooling systems, and appliances with cleaner, electric alternatives.

At a smaller scale, examples of electrification include upgrading to new electric appliances or adopting more efficient heat-pumps. At a larger scale, electrification is driving transitions of local and regional energy grids to wind, solar, and geothermal power.

An electrified building — and an electrified energy grid — is more energy efficient and produces significantly fewer gases and other pollutants than their fossil fuel analogs. All of which saves us money and keeps our communities safe and healthy.

What Is Weatherization?

Weatherization does exactly what it sounds — it makes your building more “weather proof.” If you’re cold in the winter and hot in the summer, your building might be due for some upgrades.

Weatherization upgrades focus on improving insulation, updating windows, and sealing off other places where heat & energy may go to waste. All in, you’ll be more comfortable and will save money, in addition to helping protect our climate and create clean energy jobs in your community.

What Counts As An Energy Efficiency Upgrade?

There are a number of common ways to upgrade your building’s energy profile. These include larger updates to how you get energy — initiatives like district energy where several buildings share heat — and smaller, efficiency-focused updates to your lighting, heating, and appliances to help you use less energy.

“Energy upgrade” is a broad term, and each of the below programs has its own definition of what exactly qualifies. If you have questions — or want to see if your project could qualify — you can talk with a specialist at the agencies listed below to find out more.

Minneapolis Solar & Energy Efficiency Programs

In Minneapolis, community organizations and state and local government have put together several programs to help small businesses and landlords access clean energy upgrades.

As the price of solar drops, and federal, state and local governments commit to supporting energy efficiency, there are many new incentives available. Tax credits, matching grants, and direct funding allow businesses & property owners to take advantage of solar energy and make weatherization & efficiency improvements, without hurting their bottom line.

Find The Right Program For Your Business or Building

Which efficiency program is right for you? That depends on the type of updates you want to make, where you’re located, whether or not you own your building, and if you’ve experienced damage over the last year due to civil unrest.

Below is a list of the most popular efficiency programs we’ve identified. If you have any questions, or want to learn more about a program, check out the resources provided or fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get in touch with MN350.

Lake Street Council Energy Smart Program

Energy Smart Program Overview
Energy Smart is a program of the MN Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Lake Street Council. It pairs you with an energy coach to help you understand your total energy use and identify potential cost savings. Together, you work to reduce your energy bills and upgrade equipment at significant discounts through rebates and grants.

Program Benefits
If you are planning to buy equipment that uses electricity or natural gas, the Energy Smart program helps you find rebates that help make it more affordable to buy more energy efficient models.

  • Benefits include:
    • Energy Consultation
      • Utility bill analysis
      • Energy cost saving analysis
      • Implementation assistance
    • Rebates on efficiency upgrades for qualifying equipment
      • These include items light LED light bulbs, kitchen equipment, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units, water heaters, air compressors, and other industrial equipment!
      • The Energy Smart program typically covers 25-30% of project costs, but for lighting upgrades, it can cover as much as 60% of total costs.
    • Business energy efficiency grants
      • In partnership with the city of Minneapolis, these provide additional funding for the above projects and typically cover around 50% of project costs up to $3,000
    • Reduced energy usage and energy bills
      • This varies by project, but many see a 10% savings in electric bills
    • Electrification of gas appliances
      • Lower your reliance on fossil fuels
      • Improve indoor air quality and reduce risk of asthma and heart disease

Program Eligibility Requirements
Any Minnesota business can benefit from the Energy Smart program, however the exact amount of your eligible grants and rebates depends on your specific projects.

The Energy Smart consultation services come at no cost to those with CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy utility commercial accounts or those that are members of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

There are also increased rebates available for businesses impacted by the unrest of this last summer. These extend through July 1st and include 3x rebates from CenterPoint Energy and 2x rebates from Xcel Energy. Priority eligibility is given to businesses listed in the Star Tribune Damaged Businesses List

Apply To The Energy Smart Program
To speak with a coach and find out which programs you qualify for, apply through the City of Minneapolis’ application form by July 1, 2021.

For additional questions, reach out to Matt Kazinka ( of the Lake Street Council. Or, contact Chris Rustad (, the Energy Smart Program Manager.

Minnesota Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

MinnPACE Overview
PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is a financing program that allows commercial property owners to invest in energy saving projects at no upfront cost. Payments are rolled into a special property tax assessment, paid over twenty years.

Program Benefits
Commercial building owners interested in energy efficiency projects or solar and renewable energy upgrades can cover up to 100% of the upfront project expenses. The program applies to projects that cost at least $50,000. However, most energy savings often exceed the payments, which makes the program cash flow positive in as little as one year.

Program Eligibility Requirements
Property owners of the following building types qualify for the PACE program:

  • Associations
  • Business entities
  • Farm operations
  • Cooperatives
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Multifamily housing properties (4+ units)

Owners must be current on taxes and mortgage payments, must have no “mechanics” liens against property, and must not be involved in bankruptcy proceedings

Apply To The MinnPACE Program

Building owners can apply using this application. For more information, check out MinnPACE’s website, which contains application deadlines, requirements, and more.

Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light Small Business Solar

Small Business Solar Overview
Small Business Solar offers incentives for building owners to install a solar array through an innovative investment model that reduces energy bills, doesn’t need upkeep, and has no down payment.

Program Benefits
On average, buildings that enroll see electricity costs fall 20% or more. And after 10 years, building owners can buy back the solar array at 10% of the original cost. For more on the benefits, check out MNIPL’s program website.

Program Eligibility Requirements
To qualify, businesses must own their buildings — or have approval from the building owner — and the building must have been damaged 25% or more during last year’s civil unrest. Businesses located in the Green Zone or on a designated Great Street have priority.

Apply To The MNIPL Small Business Solar Program
Applications began March 1, with a deadline to apply by May 3rd. Interested businesses can apply here.

Below is an overview of the application timeline

  • April 1 to May 3: Program has funds and will receive applications for above requirements
  • May 3 to August 1: if the program has continued availability, it will receive applications from any Twin Cities business that owns its building.

For additional information, email Buff Grace ( of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light.

The Minneapolis Green Cost Share Program

Cost Share Overview
The Green Cost Share provides matching funds for commercial, industrial, multi-family, and single family properties undertaking an energy efficiency, solar, or innovative pollution reduction project. Currently, the program is at capacity. But it is slated to start accepting and approving proposals by the end of the year.

Program Benefits
Depending on your project and your business, you can receive anywhere from $10,000 – $100,000 in matching funds.

There are several sub-programs within the cost share. These include:

    • Innovative Pollution Reduction Program
      • Access up to $100,000 to fund energy and efficiency upgrades like solar, geothermal, or other projects that reduce pollutants, help mitigate climate change, and improve water quality in Minneapolis.
    • Vehicle Repair, Service and Maintenance
      • Secure a maximum of $25,000 to help vehicle repair, service, and maintenance businesses fund green practices in painting, cleaning, and repair processes that reduce pollutant emissions, hazardous waste, or energy usage.
    • Xcel Energy HVAC-R Rebate
      • In partnership with Xcel, relevant businesses can get free refrigeration assessments to identify ways to cut down on energy use and costs. There is also the potential to earn rebates on any qualifying equipment upgrades.

Program Eligibility Requirements

Businesses seeking to undertake pollutant-cutting projects, vehicle service businesses, or businesses seeking to update refrigeration systems are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to buildings located in Green Zones, Great Streets, and properties affected by unrest.

All applicants must meet with a rep from the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program to review the proposed project, and demonstrate a measurable pollution reduction. Applicants must also be able to provide 55% matching funds.

Apply To The Green Cost Share Program

To apply for cost share funding for your project, visit the relevant application below.

We Are MN350

At MN350, we envision a world free from the devastating effects of fossil-fuels, a world that is healthy and safe for all. We imagine a world where renewable energy is locally produced, democratically controlled and distributed equitably. Making the transition to clean energy takes work, work that can provide good paying jobs for members of our community. MN350 is committed to making this transition a reality, so that our children and grandchildren can inherit a future with clean air and water, a stable climate, and safe, healthy communities.

To do this, our team is currently working to promote clean energy programs that create jobs, support community wellbeing, and protect our children and grandchildren from climate change for generations to come. If you’re interested in this work, reach out and get involved with the Green New Deal team or one of our other volunteer teams!

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