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Charging station ribbon cutting event
Joel Haskard
09/21/2015 - 2:14pm
If you are traveling down south to Austin, Minnesota (home of the Spam Museum), be sure to check out their new solar-powered electric vehicle charger! Partially funded by a CERTs Seed Grant, the system was installed by Austin Utilities with the help of Riverland Community College students. Kelly Lady, Marketing and Energy Services Director with Austin Utilities, noted that the students and faculty were excited to use the metered data from the 1.4 kW solar photovoltaic system in their curriculum. Based on current usage, Ms. Lady estimated that around 90 vehicles will use the charger during the first year. “This is a highly visible project so it is definitely getting the community’s attention. As the community continues to promote their Austin Downtown Destination project and more electric vehicles come to the area, interest will continue to grow.”...
Attendees at Toasty Turkeys event
Joel Haskard
09/21/2015 - 2:00pm
Minnesota is the nation’s number one turkey producer. A CERTs Seed Grant helped research ways to further reduce energy costs in turkey barns and strengthen these core Minnesota businesses. Turkey production facilities have high ventilation make-up air loads and therefore high heating loads. Turkey production operations are often far from the natural gas grid and dependent on expensive delivered fuels. With that in mind, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) set out to prove that transpired air is a low-cost, effective solar technology designed for ventilation make-up air loads and offers the massive Minnesota turkey industry an opportunity to dramatically reduce and stabilize energy costs. “The goal of the project was to design, construct, and commission a transpired air system at a turkey production facility to create awareness for the use of this...
Joel Haskard
09/21/2015 - 12:44pm
Power Up Winona Community Solar is a group of 20 citizens formed with the commitment of bringing a 1 MW community solar garden (CSG) to Xcel Energy territory in Winona County. They are close to realizing a CSG which will have about 30-40% residential subscriptions and 60-70% local institutions. If the demand exists—which early indications at recruiting subscribers seems to show—additional CSGs may be established in the coming years. Southeast CERT supported the group with a $3,286 Seed Grant. Below are reflections by project lead Chris Meyer. On how they began: “We started our journey thinking that community solar gardens were something that a community institution such as a municipal government, non-profit, or cooperative group might actually be able to own and...
Rochester Energy Commission
Joel Haskard
09/20/2015 - 2:56pm
In 2014 few people knew that the Rochester Energy Commission (REC) existed and had been around since 2010. The REC lacked any branding and outreach, and did not have the resources to address these needs. Thanks in part to a CERTs Seed Grant, that has now changed. With a new tri-fold brochure and supporting materials, the Rochester Energy Commission is better poised to help Rochester citizens better understand and engage on energy issues affecting the city. “We were able to produce and therefore pass out hundreds of our brochures thanks to the CERTs Seed Grant and use our banner at multiple public events,” noted Edward Cohen, Chair of the Rochester Energy Commission. “Our profile in the community has certainly risen, thanks in part to the products made possible by this grant.” Jeff Ellerbusch with Olmsted County & Rochester Planning...
Recent community solar tour in Pelican Rapids
Maggie Kozak
09/20/2015 - 1:01pm
Want to have a voice in Minnesota’s clean energy future? Participate in the upcoming Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan events! CERTs will host four (4) events to gather feedback from Minnesotans statewide. Attendees will have a chance to participate in small group discussions on two of these five topics: Energy planning Industry & agriculture Buildings & energy efficiency Mobility, transportation & fuels Energy supply & grid modernization Save your spot! Register at the links below or call 612-626-0555. Mankato – October 14th Staples – October 20th Grand Rapids – October 29th Saint Paul – October 22nd during...
Bonnie, grocery store owner in Clinton, MN
Joel Haskard
09/15/2015 - 5:30pm
Bonnie Hometown Grocery is often the center of action for folks in Clinton, Minnesota (pop. 450). As owner of the store, Bonnie Carlson knows that the store is not only needed for groceries, but also provides a civic and social gathering place. She has to be creative looking for resources, and has held more than one community fundraiser to make sure her business survives. With an old, inefficient freezer adding high energy costs to her bottom line, she applied for a Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Seed Grant to help pay the installation costs. In addition to the grant, Bonnie’s had a very successful Kickstarter campaign ($17,965 raised from 75 backers!). With this combined funding the grocery store was able to install brand new, energy...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program
Diana McKeown
09/11/2015 - 3:12pm
The Made in Minnesota (MiM) Solar Program is a lottery-based incentive available to Minnesotans who install solar equipment that is made in Minnesota. Metro CERT Director Diana McKeown sat down with Kim Havey, Made in Minnesota Solar Program Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, to learn more about the program and how it’s working in the state. Diana McKeown: How do you describe the Made in Minnesota Solar Program to people? Kim Havey: Made in Minnesota (MiM) is a program designed to grow jobs within the solar industry in Minnesota and support the installation of solar PV and thermal for residents and businesses. The program is ideally designed for residential and business rooftop solar installations but also can be used for ground mounted installations, which is ideal for farms. Legislation in...
CERTs Seed Grants
Lissa Pawlisch
09/02/2015 - 5:53pm
Do you and your community need funding to get an energy efficiency or renewable energy project off the ground? The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) can help! CERTs seeks to provide Seed Grants to support the labor costs for clean energy projects that spur community development in Minnesota. Project proposals should be for community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that also provide forums for community education about the technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits. “Since 2006, CERTs has awarded more than $930,000 to over 230 projects,” said Lissa Pawlisch, Clean Energy Resource Teams Director. “Those projects ranged from energy efficiency for a food cooperative to solar power for schools, and much more.” Past projects can be seen at http://projects.mncerts.org. Highlights...
Learning all about solar thermal with hands-on training
Joel Haskard
09/02/2015 - 4:54pm
There are now ten new solar thermal units installed on White Earth tribal members’ homes on the reservation, providing indoor space heating from the sun. “Our tribal community suffers from rampant fuel poverty and a high drain of our energy economy,” says Tom Ferrarell, project coordinator of the White Earth Solar Thermal Install and Training project. “One quarter of our tribal income is spent on energy, and since our community has the poorest county in the state of Minnesota, it is critical that we address this through two mechanisms—efficiency and local control over energy. This project integrates valuable green job skills for our tribal members and heating cost relief for our residents.” With help from a NW CERT Seed Grant, Tom worked with local newspapers and KKWE Niijii Radio to recruit ten local residents’ homes and a cadre of trainees: Robin Davis, Melvin Mannypenny, Rob...
City of Warren
Joel Haskard
09/02/2015 - 3:20pm
You have to hand it to Warren (pop. 1,563)—this little town in Northwest Minnesota knows how to leverage CERTs Seed Grants! Warren submitted and received two seed grants from CERTs, both focused on energy efficiency upgrades. First, they worked to convert their old hospital and clinic building into an office space, now called the Westbridge Center. A lot of work had already been done, including insulating the roof and installing two high efficiency natural gas boilers, but they still needed to upgrade the control system. Since only part of the building was being used, they wanted to manage for heating and cooling accordingly. Similarly, since there were now no patients spending the night, they could now significantly bring the temperature down during the nighttime hours. Second, Warren wanted to update Godel Library, the city’s library that was built in the 1970s, to be in line...


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