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MN Dept. of Commerce Division of Energy Resources
MN Dept. of Commerce
04/14/2016 - 2:13pm
A random selection of applicants for the 2016 Made in Minnesota (MIM) Solar PV Incentive Program was completed this month, and 393 new residential and commercial solar electric (PV) systems were chosen to receive funding in the 10-year program’s third year. Applicants to the 2016 PV incentive program will be notified by the Minnesota Department of Commerce through email; a posting by MiM application number (pdf) is available on the MiM Program Updates & News webpage. The numbers highlighted in red have been selected for funding, those in black are wait listed. The list is displayed by utility and by residential and commercial applications. The combined capacity of the planned systems...
How to sell lots of Nissan Leafs
Amira Hamdon
04/14/2016 - 1:53pm
A recent month-long campaign in Minnesota drove a ten-fold increase in Nissan Leaf sales at a single dealership. Yes. You read that correctly, ten times as many sold as usual! Kline Nissan in Maplewood, MN sold 41 Nissan Leafs in March 2016, way up from their average volume of four vehicles per month. How did this happen? Here are the five things you need to boost the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in your community… #1 The Idea   This is where we tip our hats to our friends in the Colorado counties of Boulder, Adams, and Denver. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP) asked themselves “what is the biggest barrier to people adopting EV technology?” Like other clean technologies; people suffer sticker shock from high upfront costs EVEN when the costs are much lower over the lifetime of the technology. The Colorado...
Diana McKeown
04/13/2016 - 2:23pm
Andersen Corporation recently announced that it has signed subscription agreements for up to 19 megawatts (MW) of solar power through Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Communities solar garden program. Established by the Minnesota state legislature in 2013, the program allows customers of the State’s investor-owned utilities to receive a share of electricity output from a community solar system. Andersen signed subscription agreements with renewable energy companies SunShare, SunEdison, and BHE Renewables in partnership with developer Geronimo...
lettuce happily growing in a deep winter greenhouse
Greg Schweser
04/07/2016 - 12:06am
Interested in experimenting with the University of Minnesota on passive solar greenhouse technology on your farm, community organization, or business in Greater Minnesota? Do you want to learn how to grow crops all year without relying on fossil fuels? Are you interested in helping others learn about sustainable agricultural production technology for year-round production? If so, then the University of Minnesota Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships want to help you build a deep winter greenhouse. These greenhouses are a passive solar, low-cost, low-carbon winter food production system. The structure is built with a south-facing, angled glazing wall that captures heat from the sun. Heat is stored in an underground rock bed and dissipates into the above-ground planting area at night...
MREA solar training
Lissa Pawlisch
04/06/2016 - 11:49pm
The Steve Hansen Memorial Scholarship Fund from the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) honors Steve Hansen, a brilliant educator who taught thousands of students in Wisconsin about the importance of renewable energy, environmental sustainability, and earth stewardship. The Steve Hansen Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established to honor his spirit and memory, and to help the next generation carry on his important work. It is designed to assist students who are interested in attending college, technical college, or other training courses to study renewable energy, energy efficiency, or sustainable living topics. Scholarships are awarded to students who reside in the Midwest (WI, MN, MI, IA, IL, IN, OH, MO). Students should possess a clear goal of desiring to make her or his community, environment, or world a better...
Joel Haskard
04/06/2016 - 12:30am
In Northeast Minnesota, CERTs leveraged McKnight Foundation funding to assist three highly-motivated Minnesota GreenStep Cities (Grand Marais, Mountain Iron, and Pine City) with advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy within their business and commercial sectors. “We wanted these city leaders to gain a greater awareness of existing energy efficiency programs, resources, and opportunities for their regional businesses,” stated CERTs co-director Joel Haskard. “Gathering these business-specific resources within the GreenStep Cities structure is hopefully going to increase local capacity to carry out this work in the future.” After an initial conference call with CERTs staff, the three cities worked with Michael Orange of Orange Environmental who created Commercial and Industrial Inventories for each city. From there, the cities worked one-...
Solar energy on an educational facility at University of Minnesota Duluth
Bill Mittlefehldt
04/05/2016 - 12:39am
UMD and Lake Superior College (LSC) were each recently awarded technical assistance grants to learn more about the feasibility and economic assessment of installing solar photovoltaics on their campuses. Photovoltaic systems generate electricity by converting sunlight into direct current electricity. In support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) offered no-cost technical assistance to universities seeking to “go solar.” The program was designed to increase deployment of mid-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at universities, engage stakeholders to develop deployment solutions, and empower decision makers. UMD and LSC will receive initial assessment of solar PV feasibility at their campuses, including cost-effectiveness of solar PV installations, recommended system sizes, estimated capital costs to implement solar...
SMMPA utilities involved in CERTs community outreach
Joel Haskard
03/30/2016 - 1:52pm
How much energy could you save just by giving business owners a face-to-face reminder of the available rebates from their local utility? CERTs and the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) decided to find out. The Plan: Over the course of 19 months, CERTs staff visited 15 of SMMPA’s 18 member municipal utilities to increase awareness about their rebate programs. CERTs went door to door across the communities speaking with the local businesses and provided each business with a letter of introduction from the SMMPA Energy Service Representatives (ESR), a letter opener that included the ESR’s contact information, a list of current rebates, a CERTs Right Light Guide customized for the utility, and a sign up form to receive information from the local utility via email. An effective partnership: “We started with five communities during 2014, and...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program
Dept. of Commerce
03/30/2016 - 11:33am
Affordable solar thermal systems are now within reach for more Minnesota homes and businesses. The Commerce Department announced that it will offer rebate opportunities beginning March 30, 2016 to all residents, businesses, nonprofits, and government entities as part of its Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. Applications will be reviewed and funded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds have been fully reserved. Minnesota families may save up to $2,500, while businesses may save up to $25,000. “Solar thermal technology can take some of the unpredictability out of heating costs by adding renewable energy as a complement to current heating sources,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The rebates will now help make installing solar heating a more affordable option for Minnesota...
Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux talks about his new solar installation
Bill Mittlefehldt
03/25/2016 - 7:18am
Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux and the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) installed Grand Marais’s first solar electric system recently. Owners of Art House Bed and Breakfast, Arrowsmith DeCoux and his family—wife Rose and son Ennis—are very involved in the community and they view the installation as a community statement (and basically the right thing to do). This blog post is a blend of an article about the installation in the Cook County News Herald and a...

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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