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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...
The Gibbs family installed a 39,840-watt PV solar system on the south side of a livestock barn
Dan Thiede
Thu, 03/26/2015 - 3:26pm
This article is republished from the original by Andrea Johnson, Assistant Editor of Farm and Ranch Guide. It’s time to consider solar power again.   Better technology and lower prices are making solar power in 2014 achievable and more affordable than in the past. Two types of solar power are available – thermal collectors heat air and water; photovoltaic (photo – light and voltaic – electrical potential) systems convert light to electricity. “We’re really past innovators and early adopters with solar and looking at the ‘early majority’ now. The cost of solar has come down a lot, and all sorts of people are now installing solar energy projects,” said Dan Thiede, Clean Energy Resource Team communications manager,...
Attendee gets a close-up look at the barn's solar thermal air heat system
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....
Made-In-Minnesota Solar Rebate Program
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...
Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards Community program
Frank Jossi
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...
LED lighting saving energy in a Minnesota turkey barn
Alexis Troschinetz
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...
Camphill solar hot water installation
Joel Haskard
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...

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