03/27/2015 - 1:44pm
More Minnesotans will have access to affordable solar thermal systems after the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced that it will offer rebates beginning March 18 to residents, businesses, nonprofits, and government entities as part of its Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.
“Moving to solar thermal can help smooth spikes in heating costs by using renewable energy as a complement to current heating sources, whether it’s propane, natural gas, wood or electricity,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The rebates will now help make installing solar heating a more affordable option for Minnesota businesses and residents.”
The solar incentive program...
03/26/2015 - 3:26pm
This article is republished from the original by Andrea Johnson, Assistant Editor of Farm and Ranch Guide.
It’s time to consider solar power again.
Better technology and lower prices are making solar power in 2014 achievable and more affordable than in the past.
Two types of solar power are available – thermal collectors heat air and water; photovoltaic (photo – light and voltaic – electrical potential) systems convert light to electricity.
“We’re really past innovators and early adopters with solar and looking at the ‘early majority’ now. The cost of solar has come down a lot, and all sorts of people are now installing solar energy projects,” said Dan Thiede, Clean Energy Resource Team communications manager,...
03/26/2015 - 3:06pm
Zoom around the Upper-Midwest (and linger a while in Minnesota!) to see excellent on-farm renewable energy projects.
The potential uses and benefits of renewable energy to rural communities are huge. In fact, they’re already being realized as innovative people and organizations put ideas into action.
This is a project of the Center for Rural Affairs in partnership with Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), The Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Clean Wisconsin.
Click here to take the tour >>
Take action: If you’re a farm or rural small business interested in energy saving solutions and renewable energy, you should consider USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program...
03/26/2015 - 2:42pm
Looking for support to advance your energy and environment projects? Minnesota GreenCorps members are a great way to add capacity to your organization and grow young leaders.
About the Program: 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. MPCA is planning to place up to 40 full-time members with various host sites for the 2015-2016 program year. Members serve approximately 40 hours a week for 11 months beginning in mid to late September 2015 through August 2016.
Program Eligibility Eligible organizations include public entities (local, regional, state, tribal), school districts, not for profit institutions of higher education, and 501...
03/25/2015 - 4:10pm
On March 10-11, 550 Minnesotans from all over the state gathered in St. Cloud for the CERTs 2015 Conference to learn about successful energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, connect with peers, and get ready to take action in their communities.
It was a great turnout, and it reflected the great excitement around the expansion of solar and other clean energy projects around the state, as well as the broad implementation of innovative energy efficiency projects.
You can learn more about the event, download speaker presentations, and see photos from the conference at http://2015.mncerts.org. Or just scroll down to see photos and more!
Stories about the event were featured in the St....
03/25/2015 - 3:07pm
The Midwest Farm Energy Conference and Renewable Energy Tour is coming up in Morris, MN on June 17-19, 2015! To learn more we interviewed Michael Reese, Renewable Energy Director at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris.
Joel Haskard, CERTs:
Tell us a little bit about the Midwest Farm Energy Conference.
Mike Reese: The Midwest Farm Energy Conference will showcase renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in a production agriculture setting. In addition to presentations on a wide variety of agriculture energy-related topics, attendees will tour innovative energy systems including solar electric, solar thermal, wind energy, and renewable hydrogen and ammonia production. This is an opportunity to see the systems in use, and learn about some...
03/23/2015 - 5:41pm
Over 40 people—most of them dairy farmers from southeast Minnesota—gathered at People’s Energy Cooperative in Oronoco on December 11th to learn about ways to save energy in dairy production and funding opportunities and rebates available.
A Warm Welcome! The event was co-hosted by Southeast Clean Energy Resource Team (SE CERT) and People’s Energy Cooperative, but there were several other partners involved in personally inviting farmers to the lunch gathering, including: The Minnesota Project (TMP), Minnesota Milk Producers Association, Minnesota Dairy Herd Improvement Association, and University of Minnesota Extension. SE CERT Coordinator Michelle Palm kicked off the program by describing CERTs and the day’s agenda. After filling up plates with warm pulled beef brisket sandwiches, baked beans, and chocolate milk, attendees settled in to get to the learning part of the day...
03/23/2015 - 5:21pm
Nested in rural Zumbro Falls, MN, RS Farms is a small dairy operated by Kim and Richard Ryan. Behind the scenes of their milk production lays a longtime consideration of the energy that goes into the operation of their farm, and the desire that the energy leave less of an impact.
The Ryan’s average electricity bills have reduced greatly since 2010, in a large part due to their efforts to decrease their use. But for a more in-depth picture of their electric use, they needed an energy audit for the farm. So in late 2012, CERTs helped fund this energy audit. Kim says that the results of the audit “confirmed the efforts we had been making and … encouraged us to move forward to help make the dairy sustainable into the future both financially and environmentally.”
Of the audit’s eight total recommendations, five were found to be practical for the farm:
03/23/2015 - 4:50pm
Community Solar Gardens are centrally-located solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity to participating subscribers, and they’re taking root in Minnesota. Here at CERTs we wanted to learn more about the experiences of subscribers in Minnesota and share them with others who are curious about community solar.
Meet Jim and Carol: Jim Johnson serves on the Board of Directors of the Pelican Rapids Area Economic Development Corporation. Recently, he and his wife, Carol, decided to invest in the Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s solar garden because of their green values and their appreciation for home-grown energy projects.
CERTs: Why did you decide to subscribe to the Lake Region Electric Cooperative community solar project?
Jim & Carol: I decided to purchase a solar energy panel because I believe in self-sustaining...
03/23/2015 - 4:21pm
The Youth Energy Summit (YES!) empowers youth to partner with their community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on learning and team-based projects.
CERTs has supported teams throughout the years with seed grants and technical assistance, and recently West Central Regional Coordinator Erin Smith and statewide Co-Director Joel Haskard met with school teams at their event at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center.
At the event Joel and Erin caught up with me (Royalton High School sophomore Brandi Kloss—I’m in the middle on the photo above) so I could share a little bit about our YES! team and our projects. Below is the interview!
CERTs: What did your team do last year?
Brandi Kloss: One of our projects was Royalton designed and built a super mileage car – winning the Minnesota...