12/16/2014 - 8:35pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) have been receiving questions from across Minnesota about Community Solar Gardens. During many of these conversations it became clear that communities needed resources they could use to help subscribers understand how community solar works and what they needed to know.
To meet these needs, CERTs and our partners have compiled a suite of resources open for use by individuals, communities, and solar companies alike to help everyone make well-informed decisions regarding Community Solar Garden projects.
CERTs Guide to Community Solar Gardens
The CERTs Guide to Community Solar Gardens provides an introduction to key concepts and definitions. It was created to illustrate how community solar gardens work, why people might be interested in subscribing, how...
12/16/2014 - 3:34pm
Erin Smith, West Central CERT Coordinator, chatted with David Wakely, Director of Communications of MN Community Solar, and other stakeholders about an exciting community solar project in Sibley County that is now accepting subscribers. The project, which was announced in late August 2014, will be a 1 megawatt community solar garden in Gaylord, MN. The project is coming to fruition through a partnership with Front Row Energy founded by Steve Mangold.
In 2010, Mangold purchased the land in Gaylord where the project will be located (four acres between Michael Foods and the Gaylord wastewater treatment plant) and approached MN Community Solar with his project idea after attending a presentation. The goal of the project is to create economic development in the region. Paula J. King joined her husband, Steve...
12/16/2014 - 2:23pm
This story by Frank Jossi was originally published by Midwest Energy News.
Last Friday, Minnesota’s largest utility began accepting applications for community solar garden projects. It’s anyone guess how many solar garden developers will submit on the first day of business for Xcel Energy‘s Solar*Rewards Community program. Some developers have already marketed and sold out projects that have been not formally approved.
“We see high interest in this and we expect we’ll see a lot of applications but we don’t know what the pace will be,” said Laura McCarten, regional vice president. “One estimated guess is we could get...
12/04/2014 - 11:15am
At this week’s Toasty Turkeys event we shared all sorts of exciting funding options for getting LED lighting in turkey barns. We’ll share more details about the whole event in a future blog post.
For now, we wanted to be sure that you don’t miss out on these funding opportunities! Read through the four programs listed below.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Livestock Investment Grant
Due December 10, 2014
Awarded before February 1, 2015 (so a quick turnaround)
Application is short and relatively easy. Best part? CERTs is happy to help you complete sections of it and write a Letter of Support. A little bird told us that odds of receiving this grant are very good.
Download an application
USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Due December 19, 2014
12/02/2014 - 12:20pm
This story was originally published at Midwest Energy News.
Construction is underway on a $96 million combined heat and power (CHP) plant in another aging facility near the river’s edge at the University of Minnesota that will dramatically cut the campus’ carbon footprint while driving down the cost of energy. The project, in the 1912-vintage Old Main Utility Building, will produce enough steam to heat the entire campus and meet about half of its electricity demand.
Two dangerous warning signs occurred separately a few years ago to remind staff at the University of Minnesota that the sprawling campus needed a new source of heating and electricity.
The University’s main campus, along the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, is largely heated by the...
11/10/2014 - 6:01pm
A huge factor in the success of the Clean Energy Resource Teams are our steering committee members. As you hopefully know by now, we work via seven regional teams that span Minnesota. These teams are made up of a diverse mix of people: individuals, small business owners, farmers, local utility representatives, members of environmental groups, educators, and local government representatives.
Each team is guided by a local steering committee that sets regional priorities, identifies emerging energy issues and opportunities, and directs grant funding. They volunteer their time with us and become friends in the process.
We’d like to thank the following individuals who have stepped off of our steering committees during the last year:
11/10/2014 - 5:35pm
Camphill Village Minnesota is located on a 500-acre biodynamic farm ten miles north of Sauk Centre in West Central Minnesota. The mission of Camphill Village Minnesota is to create and sustain a community where people with and without disabilities live, work, and care for each other to foster social, spiritual, cultural, and agricultural renewal.
Camphill Village Minnesota turned to John Duevel and his business Three Seasons And More to explore installing a solar thermal hot water system.
“John had worked with us on smaller efficiency projects and showed a real enthusiasm for solar energy not to mention he felt aligned with the overall philosophy of our Camphill community,” says Camphill staffer Kristin Wilson. “The result of his work, a four panel system on one of our homes (Nicholas Coleman House) is a fully functioning...
11/10/2014 - 11:55am
As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to double energy productivity by 2030 and reduce carbon emissions in commercial buildings, the Energy Department recently announced $9 million to encourage investments in energy-saving technologies that can be tested and deployed in offices, shops, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and other types of commercial buildings. The funding will facilitate the implementation of market-ready solutions across the U.S. to improve commercial building energy efficiency, with a goal of demonstrating 20 percent savings or more across a variety of approaches.
Last year, commercial buildings accounted for approximately 20 percent of total U.S. energy use, equivalent to about 18 quadrillion British thermal units of energy. Owners and occupants could cut energy waste, saving an estimated tens of billions of dollars annually, if they operated their buildings...
11/10/2014 - 10:39am
“I couldn’t be more excited to work on clean energy initiatives,” said Peter Lindstrom, the newest member of the CERTs team. Peter is spearheading outreach and education to Minnesota cities, counties, and schools about approaches for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements, particularly through the Guaranteed Energy Saving Program (GESP).
Working with local governments is familiar ground for Peter. He has served on the Falcon Heights City Council since 2000 and is currently in his second term as mayor. He is an active member of the Regional Council of Mayors, including serving as its representative on the Minnesota GreenStep Cities Steering Committee.
Most recently, Peter was assistant director of the Center for Science, Technology & Public Policy at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, executive director of SciMathMN, and...
11/06/2014 - 5:50pm
Last heating season was one for the record books, and on the verge of the deep freeze this year, many communities are concerned about how to keep their homes, businesses, and institutions warm without breaking the bank. This is particularly true in rural communities where there is higher dependence on delivered fuels like propane and fuel oil.
We spoke with Jason Edens, Director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), about their approach to renewable heating. RREAL manufactures solar-powered furnaces and installs both solar thermal and solar PV systems through their installation arm, REAL Solar.
Joel Haskard: Give us your take about last year’s heating issues.
Jason Edens: The perfect storm of the Polar vortex and a wet harvest last year led to immense demand...