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North Star Solar project
Diana McKeown
02/23/2017 - 9:47am
This article is an excerpt of a recent story from the Chisago County Press. There is a solar boom happening in Minnesota, and with the 100 MW North Star Solar project now complete, it’s booming the most in Chisago County, which estimates that about $350,000 in tax revenue will be created by solar projects in the county. The leasing of the land has also put money in farmers’ pockets where soils were not considered to be premium quality. As Chisago County Environmental Services and Zoning Director Kurt Schneider put it, “We are experiencing the planting of a new crop.” County officials recently shared Chisago County’s experience with solar at a conference of Minnesota counties...
Chris Meyer
02/22/2017 - 10:30am
This is an excerpt from a recent story by Mark Fischenich in the Mankato Free Press. The city of Mankato will reduce its future electrical bills by $1.9 million through subscriptions to solar energy projects in the area, boosting the savings by more than 50 percent from its initial agreement last summer. The subscriptions mean nearly all of the power going to the city’s 10 biggest municipal consumers — ranging from the street lighting system to the civic center to the sewage treatment plant — will be supplied by Xcel Energy at a discounted rate. That figure could grow if more community solar gardens are developed in Blue Earth County or adjacent counties, said Public Works Director Jeff Johnson. “Right now, we’re at 92 percent,...
Project Stove Swap
Joel Haskard
02/22/2017 - 9:04am
Project Stove Swap is managed by Minnesota nonprofit Environmental Initiative, in partnership with Minnesota Power. The project offers financial incentives for residents, nonprofits and businesses with older wood burning stoves to upgrade. The level of incentive varies based on the type of appliance and income level, but can reach up to $10,000. We spoke with Mikey Weitekamp, Senior Project Manager at Environmental Initiative, to learn more. Tell us a little bit about Project Stove Swap.   Mikey Weitekamp: Project Stove Swap is an effort to swap out of old, inefficient wood burning stoves with newer models that save money, reduce air pollution, increase safety and contribute to the local economy....
Zero Energy Schools program
Peter Lindstrom
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
Annette Fiedler
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,...

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