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Saving Watts and Drops
Alexis Troschinetz
Mon, 06/12/2017 - 4:39pm
Minnesota utilities: Join CERTs in a webinar to hear all about our new campaign, Saving Watts and Drops. We’re focusing on utilities in this first wave of outreach on the campaign because utilities are such a big potential partner. Feel free to get acquainted with the campaign at savingwattsdrops.org. Saving Watts and Drops is rooted in the idea that many small energy savings throughout Minnesota will add up to big energy savings together. One option of the campaign helps youth and community groups conduct fundraisers with plug-and-play energy and water saving products in collaboration with their electric or natural gas utilities. Another option helps cities, community-level organizations, utilities, or other interested parties in distributing energy-saving products for free or at a low cost using one’s...
Joel Haskard
Thu, 06/08/2017 - 2:26pm
Join us as we dive a little deeper into two web resources for the electric vehicle shopper, mncharging.org and evsalespro.com. We interviewed several EV experts, utility staff, and EV sales personnel to learn more.   First, to learn more about mncharging.org, we reached out to Jukka Kukkonen, founder of PlugInConnect, LLC. Jukka, tell us a little about this new tool. Jukka Kukkonen: The mncharging.org webpage provides an easy way for people to find their local electric utility’s resources for EVs. They just pick their utility from a drop-down list and are immediately directed to the utility’s webpage on the topic. The purchase of an electric vehicle is not an event, it is a...
MN Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 06/01/2017 - 3:24pm
On a bright, sunny Minnesota spring day, with solar panels in the background, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that the state is enjoying dramatic growth in solar power, adding nearly as much new solar capacity in just the first three months of 2017 as in all of 2016. Rothman announced the latest solar statistics at the Schneiderman’s Furniture store in Plymouth, a Twin Cities suburb. The local family-owned furniture retailer has installed rooftop solar power systems at its Plymouth, Woodbury and Duluth stores, with support from state solar incentives. The solar projects were developed by Ideal Energies, a Minnesota-based commercial solar energy developer with over 140 commercial systems in operation. “Solar is already a bright spot in Minnesota’s energy picture, and it’s getting even bigger and brighter,” said Rothman, whose agency includes the state energy...
City of Trimont water tower
Sophie Lutz
Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:49pm
The City of Trimont in South Central Minnesota is leading the way for small cities looking to revamp their street lighting and improve their buildings. The city recently transitioned to LED street lights and updated the heating and cooling systems in their Community Building. It all started when Jim Haler at South Central Electric Association brought the Southwest CERT Seed Grant opportunity to the city’s attention. We interviewed Mike Paulson, Public Works Supervisor with the City of Trimont, to learn more about the project and how it went. Can you tell us what this project is all about?   Mike Paulson: The City of Trimont’s energy efficiency project had two parts: updates to the Community Building and new street lights. Community Building: The Trimont Community Building was finished in 1994, and the heating and cooling systems were original to the building....
Fully loaded power strip | Photo by Richard Drew, AP
Dan Thiede
Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:39pm
Recently, Elizabeth Dunbar at Minnesota Public Radio published a story all about the rising energy use of our personal workstations—that mess of cords at your desk powering all of your stuff. Read on for an interesting analysis and useful tips for reducing your load! “Dual monitors, cellphone chargers, coffee makers, space heaters. If you have one or more of them plugged in at your workspace, you’re part of a growing problem in building efficiency. LED lighting and changes to heating and cooling systems have cut down on energy use in commercial buildings since 2003. But now, plugload — the energy it takes to power all those things plugged into your desktop power strip — is rising. It’s largely a function of modernity. The tools we use to do our jobs today require a lot...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive
Lissa Pawlisch
Wed, 04/05/2017 - 9:30am
The Minnesota Department of Commerce just announced their 2017 Made in Minnesota Solar PV Incentive Program lottery results. This year the program will support 679 new projects and 10.23 MW of capacity—that’s a lot! Minnesota Power’s SolarSense Program also expanded this year. A random selection of applicants for the 2017 Made in Minnesota Solar PV Production-Based Incentive Program was completed on March 22, and 679 new residential and commercial solar electric (PV) systems were chosen to receive funding in the fourth year of the 10-year program. The random selection process was conducted by a third-party vendor. Applicants to the 2017 PV incentive program will be notified by the Minnesota Department of Commerce through...
Dan Thiede
Tue, 04/04/2017 - 4:44pm
Every week there has been news of solar installations breaking ground, getting installed, and pumping clean electricity into Minnesota’s grid. It appears we’re definitely in the midst of a solar boom! We pulled together a few of the best recent stories for your perusal. Enjoy!   As energy mix becomes cleaner, Minnesotans paying less for it Midwest Energy News   Consumers have seen flat or declining energy costs as renewable energy becomes a greater part of the energy mix of Minnesota and the nation. That’s one of the findings in the annual 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in partnership with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy....
Joel Haskard
Thu, 03/16/2017 - 1:49pm
There is A LOT happening in the world of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) here in Minnesota. We asked Jukka Kukkonen with PlugInConnect, LLC, to tell us a bit more. The Overview   “This is a year of great developments in Minnesota,” says Jukka. “Auto manufacturers are bringing more plug-in vehicle choices to the market and first affordable battery electric vehicles with over 200 mile range will be available here this fall. Utility companies are working to become energy experts in the transportation area to better assist their customers and auto dealers are realizing the market potential of this new segment. Still there are a lot of questions but fortunately we already have many plug-in vehicle owners who are happy to share their experiences with general public. It is great to work with all these partners and line up things in Minnesota for electrified future of...
CERTs Right Light Guide for LED Tube Lights
Alexis Troschinetz
Mon, 03/13/2017 - 5:01pm
LED linear tube lights are an emerging energy-efficient technology. With the popularity of the CERTs Right Light Guide, we decided it was high time to offer some basic guidance on LED tubes. This is the second version of the guide with slight revisions from the original.   Why are people considering LED tubes?   Fluorescent lighting is everywhere. Fluorescent lighting is universal. Look up, and you’ll likely find these familiar tubes lining the ceilings of many buildings. Linear fluorescent tubes (LFLs) have largely reached their maximum energy-saving potential, and they also require recycling. LED lighting is a new alternative. LED lighting is rapidly evolving and providing an alternative to LFLs. Building owners and facility managers are adopting LED lighting for its long life span, energy efficiency, and controllability.  ...
Amy Collins
Joel Haskard
Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2017, which is Women’s History Month. As part of the series we interviewed Amy Collins, Energy Services Field Representative with Missouri River Energy Services, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Amy Collins: I work for Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), a not-for-profit, joint-action agency based out of Sioux Falls, SD that supplies wholesale electricity to 60 municipal...
Robin Weis
Joel Haskard
Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2017, which is Women’s History Month. As part of the series we interviewed Robin Weis, Economic Development Director at Southwest Regional Development Commission, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Robin Weis: Robin is the Economic Development Director at the Southwest Regional Development Commission and the Program Director of the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE)...
Chris Meyer
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 10:30am
This is an excerpt from a recent story by Mark Fischenich in the Mankato Free Press. The city of Mankato will reduce its future electrical bills by $1.9 million through subscriptions to solar energy projects in the area, boosting the savings by more than 50 percent from its initial agreement last summer. The subscriptions mean nearly all of the power going to the city’s 10 biggest municipal consumers — ranging from the street lighting system to the civic center to the sewage treatment plant — will be supplied by Xcel Energy at a discounted rate. That figure could grow if more community solar gardens are developed in Blue Earth County or adjacent counties, said Public Works Director Jeff Johnson. “Right now, we’re at 92 percent,...
Zero Energy Schools program
Peter Lindstrom
Mon, 02/20/2017 - 1:39pm
Minnesota and California along with six school districts and several national organizations are implementing partners in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new Zero Energy Schools Accelerator program, the DOE announced on Dec. 6. The Accelerator is part of the DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative and its ongoing strategy to advance energy efficiency and accelerate the market adoption of Zero Energy Buildings. “K-12 schools have good replication potential and can lead the way to market transformation of zero energy construction,” according to the DOE. “The Zero Energy Schools Accelerator aims to reduce the energy consumption of schools, while enhancing the educational environment for our nation’s students and making Zero Energy Buildings mainstream.” A Zero Energy Building is an energy-efficient building, where, on a source energy basis, the actual delivery of energy is less than or...
Kruse Motors in Marshall, MN goes solar
Annette Fiedler
Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:48am
This is an excerpt from a recent Marshall Independent story by Deb Gau. Over the past few months, Heather Westman said, there have been plenty of questions from the community about the solar panels going up behind the Kruse Motors dealerships in Marshall. “It’s been really positive. The biggest question has been whether they belong to the hockey arena, or to the city, or us,” said Westman, dealer at Kruse Buick GMC in Marshall. Although they are in the same neighborhood as the Red Baron Arena and Marshall High School, the two rows of solar panels running behind the dealerships are part of Kruse Motors. Since the beginning of the January, they’ve been helping to generate electricity for Kruse Ford Lincoln and Kruse Buick GMC. The solar panels at Kruse Motors can generate about 236...
2016-2017 GreenCorps Members
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:29am
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting applications from organizations interested in participating as a host site for the 2017-2018 year of the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Applications from eligible organizations interested in hosting Minnesota GreenCorps members are due by 5:00pm on Friday, March 17, 2017. About: Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the MPCA, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. More Info: Host site application packets, including a detailed guidance document and the application are available on the...
Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 01/25/2017 - 1:44pm
According to a recent article by Elizabeth Dunbar at Minnesota Public Radio, “It took about 10 years to go from virtually nothing to 35 megawatts of capacity in 2015, but last year that jumped to 250 megawatts.” Click here to listen to the full story >> More and more cities, counties, businesses, and homeowners are finding that solar makes sense for their bottom line. The technology has never been more accessible to Minnesotans, and we’ll continue to explore the models and tools that will allow solar installations—and in turn jobs—to continue to grow. If you’re ready to learn more about solar and take action, check out the...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive
MN Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 01/12/2017 - 1:47pm
Applications for the fourth year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, and ending Feb. 28, 2017. The 10-year, $150-million program 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. In its first three years, the Made in Minnesota solar initiative has catalyzed the state’s rooftop solar market and helped put Minnesota on track to meet its renewable electricity and solar electricity goals. The program has boosted Minnesota’s clean energy economy, making solar more affordable for homeowners and businesses, helping to create more clean energy jobs and diversifying the state’s renewable energy portfolio. Applicants of Made in...
LED holiday lights - More merry and less money
Dan Thiede
Thu, 12/22/2016 - 1:53pm
Are you still stringing the same old incandescent decorative lights for the holidays?   For many Minnesotans, the house, porch, shrubs and trees are donned with holiday lights. Depending on one’s holiday lighting enthusiasm, a home can save between $10 to $250 each holiday season by switching to LED holiday lighting. This is because, according to the Department of Energy, LED holiday lights save up to 90% of the energy used by traditional incandescent holiday lights. LEDs are also safer, sturdier, longer lasting, and easier to install. Fill your stocking with energy savings: For every old holiday lighting string recycled and replaced with more efficient LED holiday lighting, 19 kilowatt-hours of electricity are saved over the course of the holiday season. This is the same amount of energy as a common CFL household light bulb would use if left on for 24 hours a day for 2...

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