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Zero Energy Schools program
Dan Thiede
02/20/2017 - 1:39pm
Minnesota and California along with six school districts and several national organizations are implementing partners in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new Zero Energy Schools Accelerator program, the DOE announced on Dec. 6. The Accelerator is part of the DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative and its ongoing strategy to advance energy efficiency and accelerate the market adoption of Zero Energy Buildings. “K-12 schools have good replication potential and can lead the way to market transformation of zero energy construction,” according to the DOE. “The Zero Energy Schools Accelerator aims to reduce the energy consumption of schools, while enhancing the educational environment for our nation’s students and making Zero Energy Buildings mainstream.” A Zero Energy Building is an energy-efficient building, where, on a source energy basis, the actual delivery of energy is less than or...
Kruse Motors in Marshall, MN goes solar
Dan Thiede
02/16/2017 - 11:48am
This is an excerpt from a recent Marshall Independent story by Deb Gau. Over the past few months, Heather Westman said, there have been plenty of questions from the community about the solar panels going up behind the Kruse Motors dealerships in Marshall. “It’s been really positive. The biggest question has been whether they belong to the hockey arena, or to the city, or us,” said Westman, dealer at Kruse Buick GMC in Marshall. Although they are in the same neighborhood as the Red Baron Arena and Marshall High School, the two rows of solar panels running behind the dealerships are part of Kruse Motors. Since the beginning of the January, they’ve been helping to generate electricity for Kruse Ford Lincoln and Kruse Buick GMC. The solar panels at Kruse Motors can generate about 236...
2016-2017 GreenCorps Members
Dan Thiede
02/08/2017 - 10:29am
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting applications from organizations interested in participating as a host site for the 2017-2018 year of the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Applications from eligible organizations interested in hosting Minnesota GreenCorps members are due by 5:00pm on Friday, March 17, 2017. About: Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the MPCA, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. More Info: Host site application packets, including a detailed guidance document and the application are available on the...
Paws + Claws Rescue & Resort installs solar PV
Joel Haskard
02/07/2017 - 4:27pm
Paws + Claws Rescue & Resort in Hackensack, MN is building a brand new facility that will open in late Spring 2017. They will be working hard to make sure that their shelter pets find the forever homes they deserve, and thanks in part to a Central CERT Seed Grant, their new headquarters will also be the forever home to a 40 kW solar PV array. “As a nonprofit that is promoting smart energy use, we believe this will increase public awareness of our efforts to operate our animal shelter in a way that is sustainable and environmentally friendly,” shared Jim Clark, Paws + Claws Executive Director. “We hope that this attention to smart energy use can serve as a model for other animal shelters, as well.” Making solar work for the nonprofit   Paws + Claws worked with an investor willing to build a 40 kW solar array on their...
Small wind turbine being installed
Joel Haskard
02/07/2017 - 3:43pm
Talk Inc. in Sauk Centre, MN focuses it’s business on installing and remanufacturing wind turbines, and also on solar installations. Leading up to the national Small Wind Conference taking place in the Twin Cities on April 10-11, 2017 we thought it would be nice to catch up with Talk Inc. Owner Adam Suelflow to learn more about their wind turbine work. How did you discover remanufacturing wind turbines as a business venture?   Adam Suelflow: I started out installing turbines in Alaska for islands with a massive price for their power. The state of Alaska contacted me because I had grown a reputation for myself that established me as a “say-it-like-it-is” installer. I was upfront with the customers, and gave them the honest facts about buying a wind turbine. As I...
Joel Haskard
02/07/2017 - 11:40am
This is an excerpt from a recent article by Al Edenloff in the Alexandria Echo Press. Imagine zipping down the road in your new electric car but with one nagging question: Is there a charging station nearby? Soon you won’t have to worry as much. The Interstate 94 corridor from Detroit, Mich., to the Minnesota/North Dakota state line is one of 55 routes the Federal Highway Administration has designated nationally to promote alternative fuels and help drivers find vehicle charging stations nationwide. Spanning 35 states and covering 85,000 miles, the new network was created under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. The alternative fuel corridors designation will be used to promote electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas vehicles by encouraging development of fueling...
Dan Thiede
02/07/2017 - 10:55am
This excerpt is from a recent article by Nick Williams in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. A year-long project to connect ten public housing high-rises in Saint Paul to a community solar garden is nearly complete. When complete, the St. Paul Public Housing Agency will become the first public housing organization in the U.S. to completely offset electrical consumption with solar energy, according to St. Paul housing officials. “We blazed the trail,” said Louise Seeba, general counsel for the organization. Subscribing to the solar energy garden will save the PHA $130,000 per year, and $3 million over the length of a 25-year contract with Edina-based Geronimo Energy. To learn more,...
Lester-Amity Ski Trails
Peter Lindstrom
01/26/2017 - 1:16pm
The 11 km Lester-Amity ski trail traverses moderate terrain and stunning woodlands from the confluence of Lester and Amity creeks on the north side of Duluth. This is the most popular ski trail in the city due to the easy skiing and 5 km of lighted trail (now powered by solar). The lights provide a huge benefit to the early morning or after work skier but also presented a challenge for the city to maintain. “We had to have two electricians replace the light bulbs, rent a 4-wheel drive boom lift which ripped up the trails and required park maintenance to go back in to smooth out the trails and re-groom them,” said Erik Birkeland, property and facilities manager for the city. It wasn’t unheard of for the city to spend upwards of $10,000 annually to keep the lights on and trails in good shape. The city replaced the outdated...
City of Elk River Green City Fleet Guide
Diana McKeown
01/26/2017 - 11:30am
Cities across Minnesota and the country are working to reduce costs and fuel consumption by greening and electrifying their vehicle fleets. The City of Elk River recently produced a Green City Fleet Guide as part of a Metro CERT Seed Grant funded project that can guide other cities in taking action. The goal of the guide is to provide communities with some tools needed to create greener city fleets. The guide provides information about alternative fuel vehicles, suggestions for efficient fleets, benefits of electric vehicles, a list of electric vehicles on the market, financial incentives, global trends in fleets and additional resources. The guide also shares results of short fleet survey in some Minnesota cities. The...
Fritz Ebinger
01/25/2017 - 1:44pm
According to a recent article by Elizabeth Dunbar at Minnesota Public Radio, “It took about 10 years to go from virtually nothing to 35 megawatts of capacity in 2015, but last year that jumped to 250 megawatts.” Click here to listen to the full story >> More and more cities, counties, businesses, and homeowners are finding that solar makes sense for their bottom line. The technology has never been more accessible to Minnesotans, and we’ll continue to explore the models and tools that will allow solar installations—and in turn jobs—to continue to grow. If you’re ready to learn more about solar and take action, check out the...

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