Minnesota Statewide Regulations
Minnesota Renewable Energy Access Laws
Minnesota law provides for the creation of solar and wind easements for solar and wind-energy systems. As in many other states, these easements are voluntary contracts. In addition, Minnesota law specifically provides for wind easements. For tax purposes, an easement imposed on a property may decrease the property value, but an easement which benefits a property may not add value to that property. As of May 26, 2007 commercial operation of wind plants must begin no later than seven years after wind easements (or lease of wind rights) are signed or the easement will be terminated.* This sunset clause does not apply to wind easements or wind rights leases entered before this date, nor does it apply to solar easements.
Minnesota law also allows local zoning boards to restrict development for the purpose of protecting access to sunlight. In addition, subdivisions may create variances in zoning rules in situations where undue hardships -- such as lack of access to sunlight for solar-energy devices -- impinge on a particular property (Minn. Stat. § 462.357).
Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption
Minnesota excludes the value added by solar-electric (PV) systems from real property taxation, and all real and personal property of wind-energy systems is exempt from the state's property tax. However, the land on which a PV or wind system is located remains taxable.
Minnesota Statutes: Minn. Stat. § 272.02 ; Minn. Stat. § 272.028; Minn. Stat. § 272.029 ; H.F. 1298, Article 2, Sec. 12
Solar Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
In Minnesota, solar-energy systems purchased on or after August 1, 2005, are exempt from the state's sales tax. This exemption applies to solar electric (PV) systems, solar water-heating systems and solar space-heating systems. All components of these systems are exempt, including panels, wiring, pipes, pumps and racks. Buyers must complete Minnesota Department of Revenue Form ST3 "Certificate of Exemption" in order to claim the exemption. Sellers are required to keep the form in their files for tax reference. This incentive has no expiration date.
Wind Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
Wind-energy conversion systems used as electric-power sources are exempt from Minnesota's sales tax. Materials used to manufacture, install, construct, repair or replace wind-energy systems also are exempt from the state sales tax. A "wind energy conversion system" (WECS) is defined as any device, such as a wind charger, wind mill or wind turbine, that converts wind energy to a form of usable energy.