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Blue Line Travel Center in Worthington, MN
Annette Fiedler
04/21/2015 - 10:14am
Larry and Deb Potter own Blue Line Travel Center in Worthington, MN. For a long time they thought about saving energy with lighting upgrades, but they could not find the right financing to get it done. When they attended a seminar hosted by the Rural Minnesota Energy Board on their new Property-Assessed Clean Energy (or PACE) program, it shed new light on their goals. With the financing received through RMEB’s PACE program, as well as rebates from Worthington Public Utilities and a grant through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the Potters have made the needed updates to the canopy and other outdoor lighting at the truck stop and are now looking...
Otten Bros. Garden Center and Landscaping
Diana McKeown
04/21/2015 - 9:28am
For over half a century, Otten Bros. Garden Center and Landscaping has been harnessing the power of the sun to grow plants and create beautiful spaces. With this history, it seemed like a natural step to use sunlight to power their business, and the Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program through Saint Paul Port Authority made it easy to pay for the installation. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners in cities and counties that allow it. Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing. We spoke with John O’...
Parkwood Place in Mountain Lake, MN
Annette Fiedler
04/21/2015 - 8:19am
Parkwood Place in Mountain Lake, MN provides assisted living and senior care options for elderly adults. They recently utilized the Rural Minnesota Energy Board’s Property Assessed Clean Energy—or PACE—program to finance energy efficiency upgrades in their facility. Through PACE, energy-saving measures pursued by Parkwood Place received project financing and will be repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing. We chatted with Bill Freitag, President of JAND Development who owns Parkwood Place, to learn more about their experience and the work they accomplished using PACE. CERTs: What motivated you to apply for PACE funding? Bill Freitag: I received a mailer with the utility bill for Parkwood Place that offered PACE...
Jay Miller with new solar array on Crankshaft Supply roof
Trevor Drake
04/21/2015 - 8:12am
Recycling is at the core of Jay Miller’s company, Crankshaft Supply. The 50-year-old Minneapolis business remanufactures engine parts, saving the expense of having to manufacture new parts and repurposing old parts for productive use. Following this low-impact mission, Crankshaft recently utilized PACE financing through the Saint Paul Port Authority to install a solar array on their roof that will cover half of their electricity needs. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners in cities and counties that allow it. Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE eliminates the burden of upfront...
Solar at Cozy Corners Campground | Photo copyright Jason Wachter, St. Cloud Times
Anthony D'Amico
04/21/2015 - 7:29am
When Cozy Corners Campground in Richmond, Minnesota is at maximum capacity during the busy summer months, the facility’s electric bill can top $10,000 a month. Driven by a desire to make a positive environmental impact as well as reduce these astronomical bills, owners George and Kathy Meyers decided to install solar panels at the campground. The panels are expected to generate approximately 15% of the campground’s electricity. This is the first project in Stearns County to utilize the assistance of Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE through the Saint Paul Port Authority’s program. PACE is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners. Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid...
Students, staff, and faculty in the Nature Nook with the new light
Joel Haskard
04/06/2015 - 5:36pm
Tucked away near Owen Hall on the University of Minnesota – Crookston campus is the Nature Nook. With the recent help of the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), a new solar-powered LED light now helps illuminate this little oasis. We spoke with Laura Gabrielson, now a Senior majoring in Software Engineering with an ITM Minor, and Linda Kingery, Executive Director for the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, to find out more. Joel Haskard: Linda, how did this project come about? Linda Kingery: This LED demonstration project surfaced during the Northwest regional session at the CERTS conference in February, 2013. It was developed by students in the Crookston campus. Joel Haskard: Laura, what did you do on this project? Laura Gabrielson: What I did on this project was fill out the grant...
Exploring energy financing
Anna Carlson
04/06/2015 - 4:09pm
The Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) recently used grant funding from CERTs to conduct a community survey in Beltrami County, Minnesota in order to identify and understand the community’s renewable energy and energy efficiency financing needs. HRDC partnered with the Sustainability Office at Bemidji State University for the project and commissioned the University’s Marketing Assistance and Research Solutions (MARS) program to carry out the survey.   The Process   In the fall of 2014, the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) assessed and evaluated the level of small business interest in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Bemidji area – as well as the availability of financing tools for such projects. Before starting on the project, HRDC connected with the Sustainability Office at Bemidji State...
New Streetlights in Russell
Joel Haskard
04/06/2015 - 11:35am
Cities across Minnesota are finding real savings converting their streetlights to LEDs. We spoke with Brian Jeremiason, Energy Services Manager with Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative, to learn more about his experiences. Joel Haskard: It sounds like you have several LED streetlight projects in the works. Can you tell us more? Brian Jeremiason: We completed the conversion for the City of Russell this past spring, and hope to get started soon in the communities of Lynd and Arco. Joel Haskard: Why switch to LED streetlights? Brian Jeremiason: We were approached by the City of Russell, they were looking for ways to reduce their energy usage and costs. We identified the streetlight conversion project as an easy to implement improvement that could meet both goals. In 2012, street lighting in the City of Russell accounted for 84,473 kWh of usage and cost the city and its residents...
36 Lyn Refuel Station
Joel Haskard
04/03/2015 - 9:06am
The Clean Energy Resources Teams (CERTs) is spearheading a statewide campaign, Light Up Your Station & Save, to help convenience stores reduce energy and maintenance costs and improve their businesses with LED lighting. We spoke with Lonnie McQuirter, owner of the 36 Lyn Refuel Station at 36th Street & Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis. Joel Haskard: Why did you decide to upgrade your canopy lights to LEDs? We have been familiar with LED technology for some time. However, price and financial incentives as well as the long-term reliability of LED lights became clear to us a couple years ago (2013). I was tired of pulling out our 24-foot ladder in the brisk winters to change out our old metal halide bulbs. The ballasts, which use even more energy beyond the bulb itself, also were a pain to deal with. Joel Haskard: Have you seen a reduction in...
Community Solar Gardens
Frank Jossi
03/27/2015 - 3:18pm
This story is republished from the original in Midwest Energy News. A Minnesota faith group will announced last week an effort to make community solar more accessible to people with lower incomes. Julia Nerbonne, executive director of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, said that early discussions with solar garden developers in the Twin Cities revealed that they will be targeting potential customers with credit scores of 700 or above. That would leave a substantial portion of the population without access to solar garden subscriptions due to modest to low incomes or past credit problems. “That’s alarming and people are not talking about it,” she said. “It’s probably less than half the people in country who have a score that high...

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