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Best 4 Solar Companies in Rochester, MN

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Written By Max Peterson | Last Updated: February 05, 2024

With Rochester's clear skies and below-average rainfall, it's a great area for families and businesses hoping to harness the extra sunlight. While going solar comes with upfront costs, local homeowners could ultimately save $1,000 per kilowatt on their electric bills. A professional installation team can help you choose the best panels to maximize your savings. On this page, we'll showcase Rochester's best solar contractors and give insightful advice for your solar journey.

Best High-Efficiency System
4.8
  • Builds custom, high-efficiency solar systems suited to each home
  • Extensive coverage area throughout the country
  • Offers energy storage and EV charger add-ons

Top Rochester Solar Companies

Kuntz Electric, Inc. Logo

Kuntz Electric

4.2/5
Based on 22 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Commercial Panels Maintenance Skilled Repairs Solar Panel Upgrades Full-Service Residential Panels

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
  • Free quotes
6254 34th Ave Nw A, Rochester, MN 507-285-9658 kuntzelectric.net
Champion Solar Logo

Champion Solar

4.7/5
Based on 18 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Ev Charger Solar Roof Assessment Financing Assistance Consultation Skilled Repairs Battery Storage Maintenance Permit Assistance Residential Panels Commercial Panels

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Reliable customer support
  • Free quotes
7010 Us-61, Minnesota City, MN 507-312-0190 championsolar.com
Austin Electric Logo

Austin Electric

4.4/5
Based on 40 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Consultation Commercial Panels Maintenance Residential Panels

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Family-operated business
  • Informative resources
1111 5th Pl Se, Austin, MN 507-434-8080 austinelectric.net

Ranking Methodology

We evaluated dozens of Rochester solar providers, using the following criteria to select the finest:

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Facts about Rochester
Average Max Temp: 53°F
Solar Payback Period: 11.6 years
Average Daily Sunlight: 51%
Homes Powered by Solar: 3,984
Average Annual Energy Bill: $1,353
Solar Power per Capita Percentile: 48.0%

Expert Tips By

This Old House empowers homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle various projects and navigate the complexities of homeownership.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy has numerous advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.

  • Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home powered through emergencies and blackouts, giving you additional security. You can use your solar energy anytime with an optional battery storage system.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Adopting solar is a surefire way to decrease your carbon footprint and home fossil fuel dependency.
  • Lowered energy bills: You can avoid the added cost of grid-tied power by generating some electricity right where you use it.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Rochester Homeowners?

Minnesota's public agencies and power companies offer numerous solar incentives to help offset your solar system costs. Below is a breakdown of applicable solar programs where you live.

Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive

Website: xcelenergy.com

Incentive Amount:

Systems 0.5 kW - 25 kW: $0.005/kWh
Medium-sized Systems 25.1-500 kW: $0.0375/kWh
Large Systems (>500kW): Determined through competitive bid

Incentive Type: Sales Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

100% exemption

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

Solar: 100% exemption from real property taxes
Wind: 100% exemption from real and personal property taxes

Incentive Type: Sales Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

100% of sales tax

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: xcelenergy.com

Incentive Amount:

Refrigerator/Freezer Recycling: $50
Natural Gas Furnace Existing Home: $200-$400
Natural Gas Furnace New Construction: $100-$200
Natural Gas Hot Water Boiler: $100-$400
ECM Furnace: $100
Central AC: $150-$450
Tank Water Heater: $75-$500
Tankless Water Heater: $250
Attic/Wall Insulation: 30% of project cost
Air Sealing: $150-$200
Furnaces: $200-$425
Boilers: $125-$400
ECM Motor Furnace Fan: $125
Programmable Thermostat: $10
Heat Pumps: $175-$475
Water Heating: $100-$250
Clothes Washer: $10
Refrigerator: $15
Ground Source Heat Pump: $150/ton

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: bpu.org

Incentive Amount:

Dishwasher: $35
Clothes Washer: $35
Electric Clothes Dryer: $35
Refrigerator: $35
Freezer: $35
Dehumidifier: $20
Room/Window A/C: $35
High Efficiency Electric Water Heater: $35
Central A/C Tune-Up: $35
Central A/C: $200-$350
Mini Split/Ductless A/C: $250
ECM Replacement Motor: $100
Furnaces: $200-$375
Heat Pump Water Heater: $250
Air Source Heat Pump: $250
Geothermal Heat Pump: $100/ton

Incentive Type: Grant Program

Website: xcelenergy.com

Incentive Amount:

Varies

Incentive Type: Loan Program

Website: connexusenergy.com

Incentive Amount:

$7,500
OR
$20,000

Incentive Type: Loan Program

Website: mncee.org

Incentive Amount:

$20,000

Incentive Type: Loan Program

Website: mnhousing.gov

Incentive Amount:

$15,000. Applicants may be eligible for higher loan and term amounts depending on income

Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive

Website: mn.gov

Incentive Amount:

1.5¢/kWh
1.0¢/kWh for certain hydro facilities in need of repair

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: rpu.org

Incentive Amount:

PV: $500

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: rpu.org

Incentive Amount:

Clothes Washer: $25 - $90
Clothes Dryer: $50
Dehumidifier: $15 - $25
Dishwashers: $25 - $40
Refrigerators/Freezers: $25, plus $15 bonus if properly recycled
Room Air Conditioners: $25, plus $15 bonus if properly recycled
LED Bulbs: 50% of cost up to $7 per bulb
LED Fixtures: 50% of cost up to $20
Ceiling Fans with LED Lighting: 50% of cost, up to $15 - $25
Central AC: $100 - $200, plus additional incentives per SEER above 14.5
Furnace Fan Motors: $50
Geothermal Heat Pumps: $200/ton plus $20/ton per EER above minimum efficiency requirement, plus $250 bonus with desuperheater
Heat Pump Water Heaters: $60-$400/heater, not to exceed 50% of cost
Smart Thermostat: $50-$100, not to exceed 50% of cost
Air Source or Mini Split Heat Pumps: $100-$2,200 plus $10/ton per EER above minimum efficiency requirement, not to exceed 50% of cost
Central A/C Tune-Up: $25

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: ecowatch.com

Incentive Amount:

30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Rochester

The more thorough your company investigation is, the better your solar system will ultimately operate. Consider each of these criteria in your contractor search.

Licensing and Training

To install a new photovoltaic system in Minnesota, a contractor must have an electricians' or electrical contractors' license from the Department of Labor and Industry, along with a residential building or remodeling contractors' license in some cases. If their work is regulated by the state's Mechanical Code, they must carry a $25,000 minimum bond with the Department of Labor and Industry. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private accreditations. Two of the most prestigious are the Solar Heating Installer and PV Installation Professional certificates, backed by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Some companies don't publish this information online, so you should also ask your estimator about them.

Cost of Solar Panels in Rochester

The kind of solar panels you choose determines how much electricity you can generate. Monocrystalline panels cost more but give you the best performance. Polycrystalline panels produce less power, but they're worth it if you want a traditional panel style without the high cost. Thin-film panels aren't the best for large residential installations, but they are excellent accessories for non-traditional roofs.

If you'd like to charge an electric car or use your solar power in inclement weather, you can pay extra for add-ons. By selecting the right components, you can make your panel array more efficient and user-friendly. Not every solar contractor provides these add-ons, so look for a contractor that installs them if it's a priority for you.

If you're a resident of Rochester and are considering getting a five-kilowatt solar energy system, you could plan to spend about $20,150 for parts and installation. See more information on specific component and panel costs in the table.

Solar Panel Cost Average Cost
Solar Monocrystalline $1,171
Solar Polycrystalline $913
Thin-Film $534
Solar Battery $749
Solar Home EV Charger $2,810

Financing Solar Energy in Rochester

Choosing the best financing plan will influence your overall solar system cost and possible savings. Common payment options include cash payments, loans, power purchase agreements, and leases. We advise making a cash payment or using a solar loan for the best return on investment (ROI). Cash payments require a hefty sum up-front, but you’ll pay the least long-term by avoiding interest. You’ll also own your system and can apply for solar incentives to minimize your total costs. Solar loans are another solid option if you don’t want to make a big initial investment. You can pay for your system in monthly installments while still enjoying energy bill savings and solar incentives. However, you’ll spend more in total due to accruing interest. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) lets you pay a monthly rate determined by the energy you use, akin to an electric bill. We generally don’t recommend these two choices because you won't own the system and cannot use solar incentives. Look for companies that offer several payment plans to find the right fit for your budget.

The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Rochester.

You are eligible for a 26% federal tax credit for new solar energy equipment until the year 2032. City and state officials and utility companies might also offer rebates, discounts, and dedicated financing plans that could save you more.

Solar System Capacity Estimated Payback period
1 kW 2.3 years
2 kW 4.6 years
5 kW 11.6 years
10 kW 23.1 years

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Rochester

How much money could I save by going solar in Rochester?

On average, Rochester homeowners shell out around $1,353 per year on energy bills. Once you repay your solar array, you could save $1,028.15 per kilowatt you produce.

How common is solar energy in Rochester?

Yes, solar energy is reaching new heights in Rochester. Some homes already benefit from solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're backed by a state solar economy with 4335 jobs and counting.

Will solar panels improve my Rochester home worth?

Yes, solar energy systems will raise your property value. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for every dollar you save on energy bills, your home value rises by $20. So, if your panels save you $600 per year on energy costs, your property could appreciate $12,000.

What can I do to calculate my home's solar viability?

To determine your home's solar readiness, there's no substitute for a comprehensive estimate from a local solar installer. However, you can use the PVWatts tool for a simple solar viability estimate based on public data, including local weather and topography, system size, tree cover, and panel efficiency.

How long is a Rochester solar panel's average lifespan?

Modern solar installations are built for longevity. The average model provides 25 years of reliable power. Lower-cost panels tend to last shorter than top-tier models.

How do I care for my new solar system?

Solar panels don't need much upkeep to keep working well. All you'll need to do is clean and inspect the panels every six months or as necessary in dusty seasons. Solar providers frequently offer maintenance packages to help you in your system's care.

How does "net metering" work, and do I need to participate?

Net metering is a method that credits solar homeowners for any excess electricity they generate and feed back to the grid.

Some states or utilities mandate you to join net metering when installing your solar system, while others give you a choice. Either way, once you join, you'll earn a bill credit or check for your excess generation at a retail or wholesale rate.

What's the difference between a PPA and traditional financing?

The main differences between a power purchase agreement and traditional financing are that you pay a fluctuating monthly rate based on your energy usage and don't own your system. Your service provider installs and maintains the panels, and you pay for the generated electricity for 10–25 years. Afterward, you can extend the agreement or buy the system.

You might look into a PPA if you don’t want to be responsible for maintenance and don’t want to invest in a system, but keep in mind you won’t be paying toward ownership or be able to access any cost-saving solar incentives. Many solar experts don’t recommend PPAs. Our guide covers other financing options above.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

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