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Attendees at Toasty Turkeys event
Joel Haskard
Mon, 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...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program
Diana McKeown
Fri, 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...
Learning all about solar thermal with hands-on training
Joel Haskard
Wed, 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...
Joel Haskard
Tue, 09/01/2015 - 5:40pm
The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES), a non-profit that promotes solar energy in Minnesota through education and the demonstration of practical application, has been conducting the Minnesota Solar Tour for about 14 years via volunteers or staff located in the Twin Cities area. The goal of the tour is to increase people’s confidence that they can make improvements to their own homes or businesses by giving them a “hands on” experience with working products and a friendly interaction with someone who is an owner and user, rather than a sales person. MRES has found the Greater Minnesota portion of the tour to be consistently lagging behind in media attention and attendance. Hoping to rectify that, the strategy for 2014 was twofold: First, to separate the Twin Cities Metro Solar Tour...
MN Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 07/16/2015 - 4:22pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has just announced two new financing programs that are available for local governments and public entities in the state interested in pursuing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. New Rev It Up Program to help local government units finance community energy efficiency, renewable energy projects   Through its new Rev It Up Program, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is soliciting request for proposals from local government units that are seeking low-cost, long-term capital to finance community energy efficiency and renewable energy system projects. The program allows units of local government to compete for funding designed to increase community energy efficiency systems in the built environments and to increase renewable energy production throughout the state that result in reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas...
Lighting display at the Eco Experience building
MN Dept. of Commerce
Mon, 07/13/2015 - 5:55pm
Continuing the 8-year run as a primary exhibitor in the Eco Experience building at the Minnesota State Fair, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources will again be overseeing nearly 4,000 square feet of exhibit space on energy use in Minnesota homes in partnership with other state agencies, utility companies, non-profits and businesses. Ranging from assessing the performance of existing homes to encouraging smart energy purchases (such as lighting, appliances, and mechanical equipment) to choosing advanced efficiency and renewable options when building new, this exhibit will help Minnesota residents make their homes more comfortable, durable, and efficient. Below are selected highlights from the exhibit… Home Assessments The first step in any home improvement project is to understand how things are currently...
Joel Haskard
Wed, 07/01/2015 - 1:28pm
The goal of the Renewable Energy Outreach Project was to promote the benefits of solar heating systems, particularly for low-income households in Northwest Minnesota. Conservation Corps Minnesota (CCM) collaborated with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), a nonprofit organization that has been manufacturing and installing solar heat furnaces since 2000, to sponsor a Solar Air Heat Outreach Specialist apprenticeship to educate and engage service organizations and energy interests in addressing energy poverty through long-term renewable solutions. The NW CERT Seed Grant helped CCM enroll two half-time specialists, Adam Mehr and Ryan Meyer, in apprenticeship positions during 2014 to do energy outreach work in Northwestern Minnesota. At RREAL’s headquarters and manufacturing...
Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota
Fritz Ebinger
Mon, 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...
Students touring Saint Paul EcoDistrict
Patrick Mathwig
Wed, 05/13/2015 - 1:00pm
On April 9th, 85 environmental studies students from Saint Paul’s Central High School headed to downtown Saint Paul for a special day-long tour. The tour took the students through the new Saint Paul EcoDistrict: the Science Museum of Minnesota, the RiverCentre parking ramp, inside and on top of the RiverCentre and the Saint Paul District Energy plant. The Central High School Clean Energy Field trip came about after Lisa Houdek, a science teacher at Central High School, approached the Metro region of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (Metro CERT), a program of the Great Plains Institute, for help in setting up a field trip for her Environmental Studies classes. Houdek teaches about clean energy technologies and sustainability, and wanted her students to be able to see projects being deployed in their own...
Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebate Program
Joel Haskard
Fri, 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...


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