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Small Business Project Press Event
Trevor Drake
02/25/2015 - 10:58am
Small businesses are often the anchors of a vibrant community. They’re the places we go to find unique experiences, delicious foods, and local knowledge. They also have a role to play in transforming our energy system and boosting the economy by implementing actions to save energy, reduce overhead costs, and grow their business. Metro CERT is working with the Lake Street Council, a business association in Minneapolis, to help small businesses do just that with generous funding from Wells Fargo’s “Environmental Solutions for Communities” program. On January 16th, 2015, Wells Fargo recognized the Small Business Energy Coaches project by presenting a $50,000 “big check” to the Great Plains Institute, the CERTs Partner that runs the Metro Region of CERTs, at a press event at Minneapolis City...
Tri-County Electric Cooperative Renewable Rays community solar garden
Dan Thiede
02/06/2015 - 4:06pm
Community Solar Gardens are centrally-located solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity to participating subscribers, and they’re taking root in Minnesota. Here at CERTs we wanted to learn more about the experiences of subscribers in Minnesota and share them with others who are curious about community solar. Meet Douglas: Douglas Falch and his brother Denis of Winona, MN are now retired after working at the Winona Dairy Queen for many years. They found the community solar subscription process very straightforward and are happy with Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s management of the Renewable Rays community solar garden project. CERTs: Why did you decide to subscribe to the Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s Renewable Rays community solar project? Douglas: My brother Denis and I were...
Tri-County Electric Cooperative Renewable Rays community solar garden
Dan Thiede
02/06/2015 - 3:55pm
Community Solar Gardens are centrally-located solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity to participating subscribers, and they’re taking root in Minnesota. Here at CERTs we wanted to learn more about the experiences of subscribers in Minnesota and share them with others who are curious about community solar. Meet Christine and Tom: Christine and Tom Custer live in Brownsville, MN and are both wildlife biologists at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, WI. They’re offsetting much of their average monthly electrical usage with the solar panels they purchased through Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s Renewable Rays community solar garden. CERTs: Why did you decide to subscribe to the Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s Renewable Rays community solar project?...
Metro CERT Clean Energy Accelerator
Trevor Drake
02/05/2015 - 3:47pm
Communities across Minnesota are looking to take action on clean energy projects, but sometimes knowing where to start, who to involve, and how to get from an idea to a completed project are steps that make the process seem daunting. Making those difficult steps easier, and getting through them faster, is the focus of the Clean Energy Accelerator, a new project of the Metro Clean Energy Resource Team (Metro CERT). Eight groups, listed below, have been selected to receive support from Metro CERT with their clean energy projects through the “Deep Assistance” track of the Clean Energy Accelerator. Community Solar Gardens: Community Solar Gardens have quickly become one of the hottest energy topics in Minnesota. Xcel Energy’s program received over 400 applications for solar...
Minneapolis skyline at night
Diana McKeown
02/04/2015 - 8:49am
The new Clean Energy Partnership Board in Minneapolis will hold its first meeting today, Wednesday February 4th. This first-of-its-kind City-utility partnership will have the City of Minneapolis, Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy collaborating in new ways to help Minneapolis achieve its clean energy goals, including making energy more affordable and reliable for everyone while increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy. The first board meeting will be today from 2-4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the board room at the McKnight Foundation. The board members are Mayor Betsy Hodges, City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, City Council Member Kevin Reich and City Coordinator Spencer Cronk for the City of Minneapolis; Laura McCarten, regional vice president, and Lee Gabler, director of Demand-side Management and Renewable Operations for Xcel Energy; and Joe Vortherms, vice president of...
A screenshot from one of the videos, "Building Science is No BS"
Joel Haskard
02/02/2015 - 11:30am
You will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated bunch of folks working to build a clean energy future than the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) based out of Grand Marais. Since 2008, this spunky band of volunteers have been working on a variety of clean energy projects. Of recent note is their comprehensive Cook County and Grand Marais Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Plan completed in 2012. Hoping to do more education around energy efficiency opportunities, CCLEP applied for a CERTs seed grant to help make a series of three educational videos. “The goal of using video to implement community energy efficiency is to grow a new energy efficiency paradigm: expand public awareness and knowledge about energy efficiency and mindful energy use,” notes...
Attendee gets a close-up look at the barn's solar thermal air heat system
Sarah Hayden Shaw
01/29/2015 - 4:51pm
Nearly 40 people, including several local turkey farmers from central Minnesota, gathered at Lake Region Electric Cooperative in Pelican Rapids on December 3rd to learn about LED lighting options, funding options, and solar air heating technologies. The event, dubbed “Toasty Turkeys” was a big success.   Forefront technology for making turkeys toasty Jason Edens of Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) first shared the basics on how solar transpired air works. This relatively low-cost technology can raise fresh air 20 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit over the outdoor temperature. These systems have low maintenance and can last 30 years or more. RREAL partnered with a local turkey farmer to demonstrate this technology on an active barn. The results have been very promising so far....
Made-In-Minnesota Solar Rebate Program
MN Dept. of Commerce
01/28/2015 - 1:18pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced on January 21, 2015 that two new companies have met the qualifications to have their photovoltaic (PV) modules certified as Made in Minnesota. Heliene and itek Energy join tenKsolar and Silicon Energy as solar manufacturers in Minnesota who make solar modules that qualify for the Made in Minnesota PV Production-Based Incentive Program. As a result, incentive amounts have been set by Commerce for both itek Energy and Heliene PV modules produced in Minnesota. Solar PV Production-Based Incentive Program   Incentives for solar PV are performance-based, established by a system’s energy production, and paid over 10 years. Owners of an approved and installed PV system...
MnTAP intern hard at work
Alexis Troschinetz
01/27/2015 - 4:28pm
In a time when resources are tight, some companies in Minnesota have successfully lessened their expenses by increasing efficiencies and reducing waste and energy use. What’s more: these businesses were able to complete a number of projects without allocating current staff resources by hosting a MnTAP intern. The intern program helps businesses address pressing efficiency and waste concerns while also saving money. There are upcoming deadlines for both companies and interns—see more details below. Each summer, highly qualified interns lead projects at businesses in Minnesota that range from identifying opportunities to reduce waste, conserve water, to investigating process energy efficiency opportunities. Interns are chosen based upon their outstanding educational background as well as their leadership abilities. Participating companies appreciate the opportunity to work with a...
Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric Sunna Project
Frank Jossi
01/27/2015 - 1:57pm
This story is reposted from the original at Midwest Energy News. A rural Minnesota co-op is offering customers who participate in a demand-response program a hard-to-beat deal on community solar. Customers of Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric (SWCE) who want to own a photovoltaic panel in a community solar garden and add a new electric water heater to their homes can have both for just $170. The Owatonna-based cooperative has plans to build this spring a $250,000, 103 kilowatt (kW) community solar garden and wants to jumpstart interest in it, according to Syd Briggs, general manager. The utility has 250 tenKsolar 410 watt panels for sale, with individual panels priced at $1,225 after the initial $170 offer. The $170 offer is good until...

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