Dept. of Commerce
Mon, 12/16/2013 - 11:46am
The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that it will begin to offer rebates for solar thermal systems starting in 2014 as part of its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program for both solar electric and solar thermal.
The solar incentive program includes up to $250,000 per year in rebates for the installation of “Made in Minnesota” solar thermal systems in the state. The solar thermal system may be installed in residential or commercial facilities for, among other uses, hot water or space heating purposes. A solar thermal system is “Made in Minnesota” if components of the system are manufactured in Minnesota and the solar thermal system is certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation.
Currently, the solar thermal systems certified for the solar thermal rebate program are available from three Minnesota companies:...
Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:20pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams are excited to announce the projects awarded Seed Grants in each of the seven Minnesota CERTs regions. Most regions awarded $20,000 worth of seed grants, catalyzing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the state. The funding is provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.
There were 34 seed grants awarded in total, across a broad spectrum of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Many projects also include components of education, outreach and community building, and research. Read on for all of the details! Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal.
Since 2006, CERTs has awarded $922,500 to more than 223 projects. To learn more about past funded projects, visit our CERTs-Supported Projects page....
MN Dept. of Commerce
Fri, 11/22/2013 - 3:14pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced on Nov. 22 the 2014 incentive amounts for its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, to launch Jan. 1 2014.
Made in Minnesota was one of several initiatives enacted by the 2013 Legislature to increase deployment of solar energy throughout the state. It will help achieve the state’s new solar electricity standard, which calls for 1.5 percent of electric sales from investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) to come from solar electricity by 2020.
The incentives for solar electric systems from the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be available to customers of investor-owned utilities who install solar electric, or solar photovoltaic (PV), systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Modules from two Minnesota...
Thu, 11/21/2013 - 12:28pm
Nearly 30 people gathered at the historic Depot in Wadena Friday, Sept. 13th, to learn about heating alternatives for communities on delivered fuels at an event co-hosted by Central Clean Energy Resource Team (Central CERT) and University of Minnesota Extension.
Speakers gave presentations on energy efficiency (the cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use!), solar thermal air heat and hot water systems, biomass on the farm and for heating school districts, as well as combined solar biomass systems, and the latest research on biomass as a heating alternative.
The group was welcomed by Central CERT Coordinator Sarah Hayden and CERTs Co-Director Joel Haskard. Meeting attendees enjoyed tasty snacks of fresh fruit, muffins, and coffee, while networking and speaking with presenters one on one about projects.
To see the presentations:...
Thu, 10/17/2013 - 2:44pm
Nearly 40 people gathered at Deep Portage Learning Center outside of Hackensack Tuesday, August 6, 2013, for a clean energy tour sponsored by Northwest Clean Energy Resource Team (NW CERT) and Central Clean Energy Resource Team (Central CERT). Deep Portage is a non-profit residential environmental education and outdoor recreation center located in Cass County, Minnesota. The tour highlighted this accredited school’s ten energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits.
Tour participants started the day by enjoying snacks of homemade zucchini bread (zucchini grown on site), sugar cookies, fresh cantaloupe and coffee, all prepared by Deep Portage’s kitchen staff. The group was then welcomed by Maggie Kozak, CERTs Event Programming Coordinator and Kathy Draeger, Statewide Director of the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. After a round of introductions...
Tue, 10/15/2013 - 4:13pm
The Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) developed a new website with a renewable energy portal on the homepage.
Julie Rath with RADC is excited about the new site and content: “Having the portal right on the homepage will open up opportunities for citizens and businesses to find easier access to the tool they need for their own projects, energy rebates, funding sources, etc.”
Posting of actual stories and the energy portal have helped to increase the awareness of CERTs, the GreenStep Cities Program, and other energy-related programs that communities and residents may not have been aware of. Along with the energy portal, postings on Facebook and Twitter have been highlighting energy projects in Redwood County. This marketing of information will help to spark interest in these initiatives and help to promote energy conservation in southwest Minnesota. “I know the website is...
Tue, 08/27/2013 - 4:24pm
High tunnels (also commonly referred to as polytunnels, hoop greenhouses, or hoophouses) are large, generally semi-circle-shaped structures made of polyethylene. Main benefits derived from using the tunnels include shelter from extreme weather and simultaneously being able to trap solar heat and retain warmth. From the fall of 2012 to spring of 2013, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) investigated not only high tunnels, but also their performance when paired with an open-loop-air recirculation heating system, and with a solar-powered furnace (SPF) heating system.
“High tunnels are an excellent tool for growing crops in cold weather,” explained Adam Kuthart, solar engineer at RREAL. He continued, “By capturing solar energy during the day and providing protection from wind, rain, and snow, high tunnels allow plants to grow for a longer portion of the year.”
A downfall to...
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 4:11pm
If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, Chuck Waibel and Carol Ford should be blushing. In the fall and winter of 2012 in Ashby, Minnesota, Paradox Farm used Waibel and Ford’s model for the Garden Goddess deep winter greenhouse. Within northern climates, a three-season growing period is normally all that can be achieved due to the bitter cold and heavy snow. However, the Garden Goddess design of passive solar technology coupled with underground heat storage, crop growth in the dead of winter is possible—meaning the community can be supplied with fresh, local produce all year long.
Co-owners and operators of Paradox Farm, Dr. Sue Wika and Dr. Tom Prieve, run the 160-acre farm and focus on ecological sustainability, including matter cycling (minimal use of off-farm inputs), maximized use of solar energy, and practices to enhance biodiversity. Along with running the farm...
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 3:41pm
The field of solar energy is growing at an amazing rate. But before new technologies can make it into our homes and businesses, extensive research must be done first. This is precisely what the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) and Apex Solar have done recently with solar thermal air heating for ventilation.
Within every structure, a supply of fresh, oxygen-rich air is required for a variety of reasons, including keeping people comfortable and healthy and preventing moisture buildup and mold growth. This fresh air can be supplied by venting air from outdoors to indoors, while simultaneously pumping exhausted air out. This simple idea gets a little more complicated when you take into account the temperature difference between outside and inside (especially in cold winter months). Recently, RREAL and Apex Solar dedicated themselves to investigating the use of solar air heating in...
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 8:15am
Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, has been looking at all things energy in a series of videos and reports on energy use. He and other reporters have been trying to break down how and where different types of energy are employed in the U.S.
As it stands, renewable energy makes up only about 10 percent of what we use in the United States. But as energy from fossil fuels declines, renewable energy will likely be asked to shoulder more of the load.
Listen to the discussion on MPR’s Daily Circuit among Alexis Madrigal, Kerri Miller, and listeners.
See the post on the MPR website >>