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Erin Smith
06/24/2015 - 2:01pm
McLeod Cooperative Power held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of its Community Solar Project on June 23. Some of the members participating in the community solar array, Coop directors and employees, and representatives from Great River Energy, participated in the event. Thirty-nine cooperative members have subscribed to 82% of the panels in the array. Eighteen panels are still available for their members. Members may subscribe to one or more panels, at a cost of $1,550 per panel, and receive the kWh output of their share of the array for the next 20 years. Member’s electric bills are reduced by the solar kWh credit applied to their bill each month. The McLeod Cooperative Power community solar project has 100 solar panels. It is 41 kW (dc) system manufactured by tenKsolar of Bloomington, Minnesota. It...
Cologne MN
Isaac Mielke
06/16/2015 - 2:06pm
Cologne’s City Council unanimously agreed to source 100% of the city’s electricity needs from community solar. Located 30 miles west of Minneapolis in Carver County, this city of 1,519 will become the first local government in Minnesota to be powered completely by solar energy. The city will subscribe to a community solar garden at the nearby Bongards cheese plant. SunShare, a community solar company from Colorado with a new office in Minneapolis, is organizing the garden. Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Community program allows customers to subscribe to gardens and sell the output back to Xcel Energy, mitigating monthly bills. The 25-year deal will save Cologne $1.1 million, or $44,000...
Power Up Winona Community Solar
Michelle Palm
06/16/2015 - 10:31am
Residents and businesses in Winona County have organized around the prospect of getting a one megawatt community solar garden project installed in their Xcel Energy service territory. They call the effort Power Up Winona Community Solar, and it’s really picking up steam. We interviewed Chris Meyer, a local resident and energy expert, to learn more about the partnership and their goals. This project also received a Southeast CERT Seed Grant in the 2014-2015 round of funding. Michelle Palm: Why did you decide to take on this Community Solar Garden project? Chris Meyer: I know lots of folks in Winona who wanted to install solar and have shade trees or their roofs aren’t appropriate, so I knew there were people in Winona who wanted access to solar and didn’t have it. Michelle Palm: What has been the...
Electric Vehicle Charging Available Here Sign
Joel Haskard
06/15/2015 - 3:37pm
For public entities in Minnesota, a new statewide contract for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE or charging stations) is now in place. Vendor product and contact information is available on the Minnesota Department of Administration website. The purpose of this statewide contract is to relieve the burden of each entity having to perform a request for bid and award contract process. EVSE can still be purchased outside this contract through your own competitive bid and procurement processes. We spoke with Fran Crotty, Electric Vehicle State Program Administrator at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, to learn a bit more. Joel Haskard: So if I am a city or county official interested in purchasing and installing an electric vehicle charging station for my community, how would this work? Fran Crotty: Cities and counties can log into...
New small wind turbine at UMD farm
Isaac Mielke
06/15/2015 - 10:13am
On Earth Day last month, the University of Minnesota Duluth unveiled its new wind turbine and let it spin in the breeze for the first time. Located at the UMD farm, this 65 foot, 5-kilowatt turbine boasts very little friction, thanks to internal magnetic gears. The magnets in the Wind Tech, Inc turbine transfer force between shafts without touching, eliminating oil and slowing the blades, which bolsters efficiency and decreases maintenance costs. This novel technology stems from the funding and resources of nine different groups, including seed grants from NE CERT and Northeast Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership. Resulting from collaboration among students, faculty, and staff from the...
Alexis Troschinetz
06/14/2015 - 3:23pm
Nonprofits anywhere in Minnesota can take advantage of 0% loans from Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) before the end of June. If you have a plan for an improvement primarily intended to reduce energy consumption just sitting on the shelf waiting for money to come along, then don’t miss out on this opportunity! Here are some other requirements to keep in mind: Maximum Loan: $25,000 Maximum Term: 5-7 years Existing building occupied in whole or in part by nonprofit Simple payback of 2-10 years and payback must be less than useful life The loan rate will increase to 3.9% after June. Make your project happen today—call Jim and tell him CERTs sent ya! Jim Hasnik Senior Loan Officer, NMLS #1000308 jhasnik@mncee.org 612-335-5885 or 1-855-296-5626 (LOAN)...
Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota
Fritz Ebinger
06/08/2015 - 1:56pm
Farmers and rural small businesses are essential to the fabric of Minnesota—its economy, environment and communities. Helping them reduce costs with energy efficiency and take control of their energy expenses with renewable energy is the focus of a new program, Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota, launching this week with support from USDA Rural Development. There’s demand: “We’re seeing increased demand for information about renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements, and are excited to offer free project assistance to Minnesotans,” shared Fritz Ebinger, Rural Energy Development Program Manager with the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and University of Minnesota Extension. Project support: For more than ten years, CERTs has been connecting Minnesotans with the resources they need to plan and implement energy efficiency and...
Revolt from Great River Energy
Joel Haskard
06/04/2015 - 3:59pm
From now until December 31st, 2016, anyone who owns or leases a plug-in electric vehicle in Great River Energy’s service territory will be upgraded for free to 100% renewable wind energy. You can learn more about Revolt by visiting the program website and by reading a recent article from Midwest Energy News. You can also watch the video below featuring the program’s friendly ambassador, Eevie.   Get more on EVs Learn more about EVs, see upcoming events, and find more stories >>  
Fritz Ebinger
06/01/2015 - 1:50pm
Southwest Minnesota Surgical Center (SMSC) Surgery Center in Marshall is the area’s only free standing same day surgery facility. In addition to state-of-the-art equipment and surgical techniques, the building features 30kW of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The building was designed to maximize the south-facing roof area and incorporate solar panels. The system produces about 36,000kWh of electricity on average per year. Learn more and see more photos from the solar installer >> Find out how you can power your farm or business with the Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota program
Solar installations at Guentzel Family Farms
Fritz Ebinger
06/01/2015 - 1:00pm
Story by Lynn Ketelsen. The oldest form of renewable energy probably gets the least publicity as a source for power on farms. Solar power is one form of energy that may make sense for farmers across the country to consider. Mike Guentzel farms at Guentzel Family Farms near Eagle Lake, Minnesota. Guentzel says, “We put it in because we had the ground space that wasn’t really being used, we had roof space not being used. There’s a lot of programs out there to help us get into it with tax rebates and Excel has a program that helped us out. It really made financial sense.” Guentzel says that solar power has met and exceeded their expectations. Guentzel says, “We make 40 kilowatts DC, which is about 52,000 kilowatt hours per year.” “It actually powers more than our entire farm. In the fall...


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Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission