04/01/2014 - 3:53pm
CERTs Co-director, Joel Haskard, spoke with Science Instructor and Go Green Club Coach, Kate Schoonover, to learn more about the exciting endeavor the Go Green Club is currently undertaking. Students at Austin High School in Southeastern Minnesota are using crowd-funding to help them get solar on their school. The Go Green Club is halfway to their goal of $10,000, and they need your help!
Joel Haskard: Tell us a little bit about the Austin High School Go Green Club.
Kate Schoonover: The Go Green Club is comprised of students who are working to make Austin High School a more environmentally-friendly place. In previous years, we have set up recycling programs for paper, plastic and aluminum cans, and cells phones. We have also helped put a green roof on the Annex (a smaller building next to the high school where classes that teach engineering, woodshop, music, etc are held). This year...
04/01/2014 - 11:04am
Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Loon Lake, MN – Over 40 people gathered at a Central Region Clean Energy Resource Team (CERT) event at John Smith’s farm outside of Loon Lake to see his latest invention and livestock—solar-powered pigs. Twice as cute and fast as normal-powered pigs, these sun-powered porkers are the latest technology to hit the Central MN Region.
“We call them Sun Swine, and their energy efficiency is just incredible, “says Farmer Smith. “We wanted to give folks the opportunity to come out and ‘kick their little legs,’ see how they function on sunny and cloudy days.”
“CERTs works with communities across Minnesota to identify and implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and to enjoy the savory taste of bacon if they so choose,” says Sarah Hayden, Central Region CERT Coordinator. “We hope that solar swine like these will reduce energy costs and help utilities...
03/25/2014 - 4:30pm
Blue Earth County has demonstrated in two of its Mankato buildings that even energy efficient buildings can be tapped for additional energy savings. Lighting motion detectors for the Courthouse and Government Center were only the latest of a long and successful list of efforts by Blue Earth County to save energy in its buildings. ENERGY STAR® certification brings recognition to two Blue Earth County buildings with improved energy performance by recommissioning existing equipment and upgrading the HVAC system and the lighting equipment.
Nearly a decade ago, the Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners had a vision to work with local vendors to make updates to the historic courthouse—built in 1889—with the aim of enhancing energy efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars. As a result of these efforts, the Blue Earth County Courthouse was awarded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency...
MN Dept. of Commerce
03/20/2014 - 12:20pm
Applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebate Program reopened on Monday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has announced. The solar thermal program accepted applications this year from January 1-February 28, but the program was not fully subscribed. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until 2014 funds are fully reserved.
Rebate Program details: The rebate program, which is part of the 10-year, $150 million Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program that began this year, is for customers of electric investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power). Rebates are available to commercial and residential property owners who install solar thermal systems using collectors certified as Made in Minnesota. The rebate is equal to 25 percent of the system installed cost up to a maximum of $2,500 for...
03/20/2014 - 11:34am
The Solar Powering Minnesota conference held March 7, 2014 at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul was a huge success. The sold-out event brought together more than 350 people—utilities, policy makers, lenders, developers & contractors, local governments, and training & workforce development professionals—to talk about 2013 legislative outcomes, financing, incentives, utility programs, permitting, storage, and community solar gardens, and much more. We’re pleased to share presentations and a ton of great photos from the event!
Click here to download presentations >>
03/20/2014 - 10:10am
A decision this week by Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission soon could change the way Minnesotans get credited for the solar energy they produce.
The commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to adopt a Minnesota Department of Commerce-developed method of calculating the value of solar energy. The method soon could be used by public utilities, such as Xcel Energy, to determine a value-of-solar tariff — a new rate that would be used to credit its solar-energy-producing customers.
The new methodology is expected to be formalized by April 1 with a written decision by the commission. No other state in the country has a formal methodology for determining the value of solar energy.
“I am very pleased the Public Utilities Commission approved our department’s Value of Solar Methodology, making Minnesota the first state in the nation to take this big step forward —...
03/19/2014 - 4:26pm
Tesla Motors is building a SuperCharging network that enables long distance driving with an all-electric Tesla Model S. This week the project reached an important milestone-there are now enough stations in place to allow all-American road trips from coast to coast by using these stations to charge your car along the way.
To celebrate this milestone, three members of the Minnesota Plug-in Vehicle Owners’ Circle are going to drive from the Twin Cities to Los Angeles and then along the coast to San Francisco, culminating in a visit to the Tesla Motors factory in Freemont, CA. Lee Bakewell, Jukka Kukkonen and Pavel Zhuravlev left the Twin Cities on Monday February 3rd to head to the open road. It turned out that the weather stayed bitterly cold for the first part of the trip putting the Tesla Model S and the crew to a real test.
We started to plan for this trip in the...
03/18/2014 - 4:40pm
The State of Minnesota B3 Energy Benchmarking program has been developed by the State of Minnesota Department of Administration and Department of Commerce to help State and local governments improve the energy performance of their buildings by tracking and managing facility energy consumption. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
B3 Success – Energy Reductions on Campuses
Looking for benchmarking inspiration?
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, MNSCU for short, has been dedicated to using B3 Benchmarking for the past 5 years. The system, made up of 54 campuses whose 939 buildings make up a third of Minnesota state building space, uses B3 Benchmarking to prioritize building improvements:
When 20 campuses used the ARRA funds to undertake energy audits and recommissioning of their systems, they used B3 in identifying buildings to...
03/18/2014 - 4:06pm
The West Central Clean Energy Resource Team (WC CERT) and The Minnesota Project presented an educational program on how to pursue funding to support an LED lighting retrofit project on Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Life Center Auditorium of MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar.
Overview: Attendees learned about LED lighting for turkey barns, heard candid farmer feedback on this type of retrofit, and learned about utility and federal funding options to help finance LED lighting retrofits in turkey barns. We owe a special thanks to our guest speakers from Kandiyohi Power Cooperative, USDA Rural Development, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation District.
Who attended? Out of the 60 folks who attended the event, a third were poultry farmers and the remainder included utility representatives, lighting specialists, electricians and other energy service...
03/17/2014 - 6:37pm
The Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) from USDA Rural Development is a funding opportunity for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs for farmers and rural small businesses.
We recently held a webinar to walk participants through the 2014 USDA Rural Development REAP funding cycle and example project ideas. The webinar recording and PowerPoint slides are available here for you to review.
In the webinar:
Ron Omann, the State Energy & Environmental Coordinator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development reviews key changes to REAP, eligibility to seek funds, filling out the application, and how projects are scored.
Download slides >>
Fritz Ebinger, the Energy Program Manager of The Minnesota Project, a partner of...