Sarah Hayden Shaw
Thu, 01/29/2015 - 4:51pm
Nearly 40 people, including several local turkey farmers from central Minnesota, gathered at Lake Region Electric Cooperative in Pelican Rapids on December 3rd to learn about LED lighting options, funding options, and solar air heating technologies. The event, dubbed “Toasty Turkeys” was a big success.
Forefront technology for making turkeys toasty
Jason Edens of Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) first shared the basics on how solar transpired air works. This relatively low-cost technology can raise fresh air 20 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit over the outdoor temperature. These systems have low maintenance and can last 30 years or more. RREAL partnered with a local turkey farmer to demonstrate this technology on an active barn. The results have been very promising so far....
MN Dept. of Commerce
Mon, 01/05/2015 - 4:38pm
Applications for the second year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted beginning January 1 and ending February 28, 2015. The program, entering its second year, helps fund new solar electric and solar thermal systems for Minnesota residents, businesses, and communities. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Program’s first year boosts state’s solar capacity
In 2014, the first year of the Made in Minnesota program, funding was awarded for 343 solar electric (or photovoltaic [PV]) projects and 20 solar thermal installations. The PV projects equal about 5.1 megawatts (MW) of electric capacity—equal to more than one-third of the state’s total solar capacity of 14 MW when the program began January 1, 2014.
Over 10 years, the program is expected to help fund 4,000 solar installations and increase...
Tue, 12/16/2014 - 2:23pm
This story by Frank Jossi was originally published by Midwest Energy News.
Last Friday, Minnesota’s largest utility began accepting applications for community solar garden projects. It’s anyone guess how many solar garden developers will submit on the first day of business for Xcel Energy‘s Solar*Rewards Community program. Some developers have already marketed and sold out projects that have been not formally approved.
“We see high interest in this and we expect we’ll see a lot of applications but we don’t know what the pace will be,” said Laura McCarten, regional vice president. “One estimated guess is we could get...
Thu, 12/04/2014 - 11:15am
At this week’s Toasty Turkeys event we shared all sorts of exciting funding options for getting LED lighting in turkey barns. We’ll share more details about the whole event in a future blog post.
For now, we wanted to be sure that you don’t miss out on these funding opportunities! Read through the four programs listed below.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Livestock Investment Grant
Due December 10, 2014
Awarded before February 1, 2015 (so a quick turnaround)
Application is short and relatively easy. Best part? CERTs is happy to help you complete sections of it and write a Letter of Support. A little bird told us that odds of receiving this grant are very good.
Download an application
USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Due December 19, 2014...
Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:35pm
Camphill Village Minnesota is located on a 500-acre biodynamic farm ten miles north of Sauk Centre in West Central Minnesota. The mission of Camphill Village Minnesota is to create and sustain a community where people with and without disabilities live, work, and care for each other to foster social, spiritual, cultural, and agricultural renewal.
Camphill Village Minnesota turned to John Duevel and his business Three Seasons And More to explore installing a solar thermal hot water system.
“John had worked with us on smaller efficiency projects and showed a real enthusiasm for solar energy not to mention he felt aligned with the overall philosophy of our Camphill community,” says Camphill staffer Kristin Wilson. “The result of his work, a four panel system on one of our homes (Nicholas Coleman House) is a fully functioning...
Thu, 11/06/2014 - 5:50pm
Last heating season was one for the record books, and on the verge of the deep freeze this year, many communities are concerned about how to keep their homes, businesses, and institutions warm without breaking the bank. This is particularly true in rural communities where there is higher dependence on delivered fuels like propane and fuel oil.
We spoke with Jason Edens, Director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), about their approach to renewable heating. RREAL manufactures solar-powered furnaces and installs both solar thermal and solar PV systems through their installation arm, REAL Solar.
Joel Haskard: Give us your take about last year’s heating issues.
Jason Edens: The perfect storm of the Polar vortex and a wet harvest last year led to immense demand...
Thu, 11/06/2014 - 1:17pm
Overlooking the town of St. Peter, Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus College is beautiful campus. Over the past few years Gustavus has been able to add a variety of renewable energy systems to add to its charms, including a real focus on solar thermal hot water systems. To learn more, we spoke with James Dontje, Director of Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation in Environmental Studies.
Joel Haskard: Tell us why Gustavus has focused so much on solar thermal as a renewable energy technology.
James Dontje: As a part of our overall environmental stewardship and climate action effort, we have a commitment to reducing our fossil fuel emissions in general and our greenhouse gas emissions in particular. While the fact that electricity...
Tue, 11/04/2014 - 2:41pm
Joel Haskard with the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) spoke with Rachel Boucher, owner of Rach-Al-Paca Farm in Hastings, about their solar thermal hot water project and the savings that they’ve been experiencing in their operations as a result of the installation.
Joel Haskard: Rachel, tell us a little bit about your farm.
Rachel Boucher: We live on a 20 acre farm near Hastings, where we raise sheep, alpacas, and goats. We operate a custom fiber mill on the property. We make yarn and clothing from our animals’ fleece, but 90% of the time, we process for other people. We have 5 solar panels on a huge rack next to the mill building. We have a lot more detail on our website at http://www.rachalpacafarm.com.
Joel: How did you decide to do a solar thermal install?
Rachel: Washing the fiber requires copious amounts...
Fri, 10/31/2014 - 3:25pm
On October 15th folks from across the West Central CERT region met at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer to learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Panelists shared experience and insights gained from their projects, partly funded by WC CERT seed grants. After Q&A on the patio, participants enjoyed the sunny day with a tour of Prairie Woods’ clean energy projects.
Greater Milan Initiative – Sustainable Energy Utility
During the panel discussion, Ann Thompson with Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) of Milan talked about their Community Center Energy Revitalization Project. The SEU purchased Milan’s old school building for $1 to serve as a community center. As many communities who have gone through this process have learned, a number of these older school buildings require a lot of energy to heat. With that in mind, the SEU pursued a...
Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:53pm
While soaring propane prices last winter helped build interest in solar thermal systems, results from a Minnesota rebate program show the market is still lukewarm.
The state’s Department of Commerce has enough rebate money left over to fund dozens more solar hot water or solar thermal projects through its Made in Minnesota (MiM) program. Meanwhile, a much larger pool of money for PV has been exhausted.
Although the deadline for rebates has formally passed, MiM’s coordinator Kim Havey said the department has extended the program until the end of the year. Solar thermal could be particularly attractive to rural customers using propane, which may be in...