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Making Itek Energy panels
Diana McKeown
02/09/2016 - 2:03pm
Itek Energy opened their Minneapolis facility just over a year ago, in January of 2015. We spoke with Paul Krumrich to learn more about their burgeoning business. Getting settled: Headquartered in Washington State, Itek Energy started production of solar panels in 2011, and partnership with Spye Inc. was Itek’s first step to bringing their panels into the booming Minnesota solar market. Solar installers Powerfully Green and All Energy were the initial two installers in Minnesota utilizing Itek panels. Itek spent 2015 getting their foot in the door to the Minnesota solar community. Itek Energy now has six employees in South Minneapolis. Many of them bike to work, and they conveniently share their building with a bike shop. Ramping up: They are optimistic about...
2015-2016 GreenCorps Members
Lissa Pawlisch
02/05/2016 - 1:09pm
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting applications from organizations interested in participating as a host site for the 2016 – 2017 year of the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Applications from eligible organizations interested in hosting Minnesota GreenCorps members are due by 5:00 pm CDT on Friday, March 18, 2016. 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 Minnesota GreenCorps website. Please...
Xcel Energy Partners in Energy Program
Philipp Muessig
02/04/2016 - 10:00am
What do people living and working in your community want in energy efficiency and sustainability? Communities can partner with Xcel Energy to identify and prioritize their energy needs. The utility provides tools and resources to develop a plan and then supports putting it into action. It’s called Partners in Energy. Xcel Energy launched the offering in 2014. So far, 11 communities have committed to the two-year energy planning platform. Residents, local businesses, city operations, and municipal leaders work together to create energy plans. It’s a coordinated effort that’s truly rooted in the local community. Watch a short video here. “We‘re excited to see...
Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman
Dan Thiede
02/03/2016 - 12:05pm
The federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC) were recently extended. Set to expire at the end of 2016, both will now continue to support clean energy in Minnesota for several years. We interviewed Mike Rothman, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, to learn more about the importance of these tax credits to Minnesota and what the extension means for the industries in our state. As Commissioner, Rothman oversees the Department’s broad jurisdiction of more than 20 regulated industries. Rothman’s top priorities include consumer protection, a clean energy future, and strong financial and energy sectors for Minnesota’s economy.   Can you describe the federal ITC and PTC and how they work?   Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman: The ITC, which became...
MN Dept. of Commerce
Anna Carlson
02/03/2016 - 10:22am
What is REEGP?   The Renewable Energy Equipment Grant program (REEGP), provides Minnesota Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) providers grant funding to install renewable energy equipment in low-income households. The statute that appropriates these funds specifically calls for the installation of renewable energy equipment in households; however, historically, the state provided funds to help make heating systems more efficient (the first program retrofitted oil burning furnaces). In keeping with the original intent, REEGP was designed to provide supplemental heat through the installation of renewable energy technologies in eligible households under Minnesota’s WAP. Initially, solar air heating and high efficiency wood boilers were approved by REEGP as a direct source of supplemental heat. As solar photovoltaic and direct solar photovoltaic-thermal technology costs have...
Home Energy Squad Enhanced bill insert from Richfield
Maddie Norgaard
02/03/2016 - 9:34am
The City of Richfield has identified energy efficiency as an important way that homeowners can reduce residential utility bills, improve household maintenance and safety, and protect the environment by reducing pollution emitted from energy production. The City of Richfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority (RHRA) took advantage of a Metro CERT Seed Grant to increase participation in a home energy savings program by identifying and addressing barriers to participation within Richfield’s growing Latino community. A population that has nearly tripled since 2000, Latino households in Richfield now make up 18% of the population (according to the 2010 census). Before this project, participation by Latino residents in city-sponsored housing programs remained low. In order to implement such a project, a strategic partnership was necessary. In the winter of 2014...
SciTechsperience intern with TruNorth solar
Alexis Troschinetz
02/02/2016 - 5:06pm
SciTechsperience connects college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines with paid internships that provide rewarding hands-on experience in small to mid-sized Minnesota businesses. Objectives: Develop Minnesota’s STEM workforce by providing hands-on learning opportunities to talented college students in dynamic Minnesota STEM industries. Keep talented STEM students in Minnesota after they graduate in order to strengthen and advance Minnesota’s knowledge-based economy. Benefits: Businesses receive a dollar-for-dollar cash match for up to 50% of the intern’s wages ($2,500 max), providing a low-cost solution for small and medium-sized companies that otherwise would not have access to qualified interns. Enables employers to find future employees, increase productivity and revitalize...
LREC EASY-PAY LED Lighting
Joel Haskard
02/02/2016 - 2:05pm
We recently spoke with Dan Husted, Vice President of Energy Services with Lake Region Electric Cooperative, about an innovative program they have created to provide quality LED light bulbs to their membership. It’s called EASY-PAY LED Lighting, and you can read on to learn more!   What made you decide to distribute LEDs to your membership in this way?   Dan Husted, LREC: It’s just a small program but it’s provided us with an opportunity to innovate. As an electric co-op utility, we encourage energy efficiency and we offer rebates for certain energy efficient products, like LED’s. Our goal is to keep electricity bills affordable for our members and our rebate programs also help us meet our state’s CIP energy conservation goals. Our online store provides Lake Region members an...
Transition Town All St. Anthony Park
Trevor Drake
02/01/2016 - 2:46pm
After years of collaboration on other important issues, neighbors are now coming together to focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. In 2008, citizens of St. Anthony Park gathered at Micawber’s Books to discuss Pat Murphy’s Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change. Murphy reveals that 60% of energy consumption results from food, housing, and transportation. To spread word of this new priority, key members formed an organizing committee, talked with friends, wrote commentaries in the Park Bugle, hosted educational events, and worked with the community council. 2013 proved to be the decisive year. The organizing committee, which has ballooned to 18 members and meets monthly, established eight autonomous action groups: Getting Started, Reflective Circle, Sustainable Food and Land, Community Solar, Land Use Efficiency, Home Energy Curtailment, Zero...
Save money and energy
MN Dept. of Commerce
02/01/2016 - 1:33pm
Taxpayers take note: If you made energy efficiency improvements to your home in 2015, or if you are planning upgrades in 2016, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $500. The Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit originally expired at the end of 2014. But Congress recently renewed the credit, making it retroactive to January 1, 2015, and extending it to December 31, 2016. As a result, any qualified equipment installed in 2015 or 2016 is eligible for the credit. It applies to energy efficiency improvements to weatherize existing homes as well as the purchase of high-efficiency heating, cooling and water-heating equipment. The maximum tax credit for all improvements made from 2011-2016 is $500. A taxpayer who has already claimed the full tax credit cannot apply for an additional credit. A few examples of what may qualify for the tax credit: Insulation...

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