The Minnesota Geothermal Heat Pump Association (MGHPA) is working to include geothermal heat pump (GHP) technology as an “eligible renewable” in HF 843, a bill now under consideration by the state Senate. An omnibus employment, economic development, and energy bill, HF 843 was introduced by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-District 58B. The legislation passed the Minnesota House of Representatives on April 24 by a vote of 73-56.

The state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) requires that at least 20 percent of electricity sales in Minnesota originate from renewable sources by 2020 and 25 percent by 2025. In 2013, the state adopted a 1.5 percent solar energy standard for public utilities to promote solar energy development. The solar standard requires that Minnesota public utilities generate or procure at least 1.5 percent of retail electricity sales from solar sources by 2020. Public utilities must comply with the solar standard, in addition to Minnesota’s RES.

Among other things, HF 843 would amend Minnesota’s Solar Standard, to allow utilities to meet it with sources other than the sun — including wind, hydroelectricity, or biomass — as long as they are less expensive than solar. The bill would also eliminate the goal that retail electric sales be 10 percent solar by 2030. And, the legislation creates rebates for property owners who install GHPs (as well as wind, solar, thermal, or energy storage systems). The bill has drawn widespread opposition from the solar industry.

“The geothermal rebate incentive under Section 5 is ‘the lesser of 20 percent of the installation and equipment cost or $20,000.’ That’s actually a nice rebate. Except that you need not apply if one is offered by your local utility — and all but a handful of smaller municipal electricity providers already offer them in Minnesota. This new appropriation does, at least, close that small gap,” said Mark Sakry, president, MGHPA.

In addition to the rebate, MGHPA urges a greater commitment to GHP technology by amending HF 843 to include it as an eligible renewable that all utilities operating in Minnesota can use to meet the state’s renewable energy procurement and generation mandates. MGHPA seeks an amendment to HF 843, designating thermal energy technologies as eligible for utilities to meet their RES responsibilities.

To read the bill, visit

Publication date: 8/3/2015 

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