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Touring solar installations at Carleton College before learning about community solar opportunities
Michelle Palm
09/15/2014 - 11:58am
Minnesotans came together at Carleton College’s Weitz Center on Thursday, August 21st to learn about community solar gardens and three projects around the Southeast CERT region. This open event was held to educate people about what a few groups in the region are trying and what they have learned from starting community solar garden projects.   Touring Carleton’s renewable energy installations   Solar at Carleton: Martha Larson, Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability at Carleton College, welcomed the group and gave an overview of Carleton’s renewable projects and their ideas for the future. Carleton has a 10.6kW solar photovoltaic (PV) panel array on the roof of a residence hall, Cassat-James, which was constructed in 2009. The panels produce 10MWh per year on average, which is roughly 1-2% of the building’s energy. Additionally, they have solar thermal...
Tim Johnson, pastor of Cherokee Park United Church in St. Paul, says visitors frequently inquire about the church’s solar array. (Photo by Ken Paulman / Midwest Energy News)
Frank Jossi
09/05/2014 - 10:35am
This story by Frank Jossi is republished from the original at Midwest Energy News. Bethel Evangelical Lutheran and Minnesota Community Solar came together earlier this year to promote a solar garden that will sit atop the roof of the Minneapolis church. Without a panel yet installed, the 40-kilowatt (kW) solar garden attracted enough support from the church’s members and surrounding Bancroft neighborhood to be fully subscribed. The project encapsulated for Rev. Brenda L. Froisland a deeper spiritual tug that speaks to her faith and the teachings of Christianity. “Part of our vision is that in gratitude, Bethel amplifies God’s grace, nourishes God’s creation, reaches out and builds community,” she said. “This is very much a manifestation of those points and our vision. “...
Join the CERTs team!
Maggie Kozak
09/02/2014 - 10:37am
Love energy efficiency, renewables, and helping others save money? Like to work with local units of government on helping them finance their clean energy projects? Then consider joining CERTs! We have a new position open—a Local Government Outreach Coordinator. Read on for more information. If you’re interested in applying, click here for more details. The application deadline is September 15, 2014, so apply now! Summary of Job Description: Over the past several years CERTs has worked to build its network with local units of government through efforts like Minnesota GreenStep Cities, developing a local government energy efficiency story series, and by promoting financing tools like the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP), Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), and Local Public Buildings...
A solar energy system constructed at the Grand Rapids DNR headquarters is one of the largest in the state of Minnesota.
Bill Mittlefehldt
09/02/2014 - 8:48am
This article is republished from the original by Britta Arendt at the Herald Review. In 2011, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issued two Executive Orders, creating a comprehensive energy savings plan for state facilities. It required all state agencies to reduce facilities energy usage by 20 percent by the end of 2015. In Grand Rapids, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is leading the way with one of the largest solar energy systems in the state. This week, DNR staff and media were given a tour of the installation of the 105 kW solar array at the Grand Rapids DNR headquarters. A large block of solar panels, the system supplies about 35 percent of the Grand Rapids facility’s electricity. It uses 256, 410-watt Minnesota-made solar panels...
Staff tracked data on milk consumption and cost, energy consumption and cost, water usage and cost, labor, and waste and recycling generation both before and after dispensers were installed.
Alexis Troschinetz
09/01/2014 - 1:38pm
Katelyn Larsen, Minnesota GreenCorps member for the Recycling Association of Minnesota, recently completed a pilot study on bulk milk dispensers at a K-12 public school in Minnesota. The study was designed to test the feasibility of using bulk milk dispensers in K-12 public schools as well as provide a sustainable alternative to milk cartons in areas where carton recycling is not possible. Larsen tailored the project to understand both the environmental and economic costs and benefits associated with switching to dispensers. The project was supported heavily by the Jeffers Foundation, SilverKing, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. New London-Spicer High School was chosen as the pilot school based on the staff’s willingness to serve as a pilot and collect data. The school received four milk dispensers from SilverKing to replace two milk coolers for use of the pilot. Staff...
Teachers learning how to strengthen their Science, Technology, Engineering  and Mathematics (STEM) curricula by integrating energy education into their lessons at the Laurentian Environmental Center.
Joel Haskard
09/01/2014 - 10:42am
The Center for Renewable Energy Education & Demonstration (CREED) program strives to help teachers strengthen their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula by integrating energy education into their lessons. CREED hosted K-12 teachers from across Minnesota at the Laurentian Environmental Center (LEC), as well as touring energy efficiency and renewable energy sites. “The live-in situation at LEC enabled teachers to rub shoulders and share teaching ideas,” says Roger Aiken, former lead instructor for CREED. “And the site visits were the single most important aspect of our training according to the teachers. What they had learned in discussions and presentations finally made sense in the real world.” With help from CERTs seed grants in three regions (Northwest, Southeast and West Central), CREED instructors graded the teachers progress for eventual...
Author Fernando Vasquez teaching young students about vampire power; energy used when electronics are plugged in, but turned off.
Fernando Vazquez
08/27/2014 - 2:16pm
This article was written by Fernando Vasquez who recently graduated from Burnsville High School. Energy conservation is something that most people know about, but few actually incorporate into their daily routines. Good information and awareness are the keys for more people to conserve energy. The Burnsville High School (BHS) Green Team decided that the most effective way to share this information was through launching a district-wide student energy patrol called the 191 Power Police, and conducting a “power blitz,” modeled after the University of Minnesota’s student Power Police program. We paired up with a group of students from Sioux Trail Elementary school to hold the first “power blitz” at William Byrne Elementary School on Earth Day 2014. The purpose of the “blitz” was to educate others in the district about wasted energy. The Sioux Trail students had just recently...
The Minnesota National Guard and Minnesota Power will join forces to build a major solar energy project at Camp Ripley, the largest military base in Minnesota.
Stacey Pederson
08/27/2014 - 10:00am
The Minnesota National Guard and Minnesota Power will join forces to build a major solar energy project at Camp Ripley, the largest military base in Minnesota. The Minnesota National Guard and Duluth-based Minnesota Power today signed a memorandum of understanding outlining plans to build a 10-megawatt utility-scale solar energy array spanning 100 acres at Camp Ripley. The project will be the largest solar energy installation on any National Guard base in the country. Minnesota Power will also identify ways to help the Guard save 30 percent of its energy, and install backup generation for energy security at Camp Ripley. “The Minnesota National Guard and specifically Camp Ripley has been long looking for ways to increase our environmental stewardship. This signing marks a milestone along our path to making that vision a reality,” said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota...
Goodhue County Zoning Administrator Mike Wozniak presents the details of proposed ordinance amendments covering solar energy systems at a public open house Monday evening in the Jury Assembly room of the Law Enforcement Center. (Photo by Michael Brun, of Republican Eagle)
Stacey Pederson
08/26/2014 - 1:43pm
Original story by Michael Brun in the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Goodhue County Planning Advisory Commission gave a unanimous thumbs-up last week to ordinance amendments regulating solar energy systems, which at least two companies have shown interest in building in recent months. The proposed rules lay out permitting requirements for residential, commercial and utility-scale solar energy projects in the county’s various zoning districts as well as application instructions and definitions of key terms. The vote came after an open house and public hearing that attracted about a dozen area residents. A handful of them took the opportunity to dig into specific language used in the amendments and express concern over a range of issues, including foreign ownership of projects and how to handle...
Dave Willard of Forest Lake has been eager to invest in the large, centrally located project called a community solar garden, whose output is credited his bill.
Stacey Pederson
08/20/2014 - 11:23am
Minnesota’s solar power industry is in a growth spurt that’s about to accelerate. The industry, once focused largely on installing solar photovoltaic panels for homes, businesses, and government, now is seeing a surge in investment by electric utilities. Sparking the surge is a 2013 state law requiring investor-owned utilities to get 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar by 2020. At least three Minnesota cooperatives are offering solar options to customers who want rooftop solar, but can’t install it because of too much shade, condo restrictions or other reasons. Customers like Dave Willard of Forest Lake have been eager to invest in large, centrally located projects called community solar gardens, whose output is credited to their bills. Cooperative power companies, especially Great River Energy in Maple Grove, are building more than 20 solar projects this year and next,...

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