Mon, 01/12/2015 - 4:03pm
This interview was originally posted on Midwest Energy News.
For two years, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has been showcasing a new approach to financing state and municipal sustainability projects around the state.
Called the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP), the concept offers organizations a way to reduce energy costs and use the savings to help pay for projects. The state created documents to help agencies and municipalities manage the program, which involves an “Energy Services Company” that develops, installs, and provides financial assistance for the projects.
It’s not an easy concept to explain even to large agencies,...
Wed, 01/07/2015 - 4:28pm
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) from USDA Rural Development is a great opportunity for Minnesota farmers and rural businesses to save energy with efficiency work and add renewable energy systems. Grants can cover up to 25% of eligible project costs, and loans can cover up to 75% of eligible project costs.
The funding has just been opened for 2015, and there is twice as much money available as usual (which may mean you have an even better chance of being funded). There is also a shorter application that can be completed without the help of a grant writer for smaller projects. See details below!
What is REAP all about, and how can I learn more?
This year there will be two application windows for the renewable energy or energy efficiency grants: April 30 and June 30
Projects requesting grants of $20,000 ($80,000 total project cost) or...
Wed, 01/07/2015 - 1:51pm
To quote a recent article by David Shaffer at the Star Tribune, “Xcel Energy said that 427 applications have arrived from energy developers, a much bigger response than anticipated. The Minneapolis-based company said the applications propose a total of 420 megawatts of solar output, or the equivalent of a sizable power plant. A megawatt is 1 million watts.”
Xcel Energy provided a list of each county and their number of proposed community solar projects on their Solar*Rewards Community webpage. But I thought, why not make a map so we can better visualize where they are?
Who can subscribe? People can subscribe to projects in their own or an adjacent county, as long as they are in the...
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...
Mon, 01/05/2015 - 1:54pm
It’s cold again (really cold), which means we’re all looking for ways to save on energy costs. From the high-tech to the practical, here are some ways to make this winter an energy-saving (and money-saving) opportunity!
Follow these tips and enjoy low energy costs from the warmth of your home:
Install weather-stripping, caulk leaky doors, and seal your home. If you’re able, adding insulation to your walls and attic is another key way to keep that precious heated air from escaping.
Turn down the heat! Lower your thermostat before leaving the house for extended periods. Using a programmable thermostat is a great way to effortlessly adjust the temperature based on your schedule.
Change the filter on your furnace once a month so your furnace can breathe easy...
Mon, 01/05/2015 - 1:19pm
As you’re taking down the holiday lights in the coming weeks, you now have the option to recycle any that didn’t make it and avoid having to deal with a tangled mess of lights next season!
The Recycling Association of Minnesota, ACE hardware stores, WCCO TV, and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) are once again working together to provide the Recycle Your Holidays program to Minnesotans. RYH is the only holiday light recycling program of its kind in the country.
Who is involved? RAM provides the collection bins and collection services for ACE store customers and other businesses and organizations across Minnesota to recycle holiday lights during the holiday season. CERTs provides the map of these nearly 500 drop-off locations. Vocational centers and their clients are contracted by RAM to provide the pick-up service and sort the thousands of pounds of holiday...
Tue, 12/16/2014 - 8:35pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) have been receiving questions from across Minnesota about Community Solar Gardens. During many of these conversations it became clear that communities needed resources they could use to help subscribers understand how community solar works and what they needed to know.
To meet these needs, CERTs and our partners have compiled a suite of resources open for use by individuals, communities, and solar companies alike to help everyone make well-informed decisions regarding Community Solar Garden projects.
CERTs Guide to Community Solar Gardens
The CERTs Guide to Community Solar Gardens provides an introduction to key concepts and definitions. It was created to illustrate how community solar gardens work, why people might be interested in subscribing, how...
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 - 6:01pm
A huge factor in the success of the Clean Energy Resource Teams are our steering committee members. As you hopefully know by now, we work via seven regional teams that span Minnesota. These teams are made up of a diverse mix of people: individuals, small business owners, farmers, local utility representatives, members of environmental groups, educators, and local government representatives.
Each team is guided by a local steering committee that sets regional priorities, identifies emerging energy issues and opportunities, and directs grant funding. They volunteer their time with us and become friends in the process.
We’d like to thank the following individuals who have stepped off of our steering committees during the last year: