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Thank you note from the teacher
Joel Haskard
Sun, 11/08/2015 - 1:49pm
Looking for a CERTs Seed Grant project example that educated students and the greater community about energy efficiency AND reduces costs AND improves the lighting quality? Look no further than the Madison, Marietta, Nassau Elementary School! Madison, Minnesota (pop. 1,551) is located in West Central Minnesota. Back in 2014, the gymnasium at the elementary school was in sore need of better lighting, and the students were primed and pumped for the retrofit. “The school had completed a partnership with the City of Madison Bright Energy Solutions—an energy saving education program—for the 4th grade class that school year,” says Principal Kipp Stender. “The program taught students about the importance and ways to implement energy efficiency savings with their parents at home. The lighting retrofit at the school was an additional way to show the students how energy savings...
Clean Energy Project Builder
Dan Thiede
Fri, 10/30/2015 - 1:08pm
Interest in solar energy and community solar gardens has exploded this year in Minnesota, and people are hungry for tools that can help them move forward. To meet the demand, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) has relaunched the Clean Energy Project Builder website, which helps people find companies that can help them plan, implement, and manage clean energy projects (and now much more). The most exciting new feature on the website is a directory of the available Community Solar Gardens (CSGs) in the state. People can visit the website and choose their electric utility and county to see the gardens available to them for subscription. There are already 27 community solar gardens on the website, with more being added every week....
REAP recipients Popp Farm
Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 10/28/2015 - 2:45pm
USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that USDA is awarding 34 grants that will help Minnesota rural small businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy usage and costs in their operations. Funding will go towards energy efficiency improvements and/or renewable energy systems. “As more and more rural business owners and ag producers incorporate renewable energy and energy efficient measures into their business plans, the more they contribute to the economic sustainability of rural America,” Landkamer said. “This funding will help implement these energy-saving measures. These actions not only help them save on annual energy costs, but also reduce their environmental footprint.” USDA is providing $1.6 million in grants for 34 projects, throughout the state of Minnesota, financed through the...
Minnesota Department of Commerce
MN Dept. of Commerce
Wed, 10/28/2015 - 11:57am
Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), a nationally-recognized energy efficiency program, generates at least four dollars in benefits for every dollar invested, according to an independent analysis released today by the Minnesota Commerce Department. With regulatory oversight and technical assistance from the Commerce Department, CIP is a statewide program funded and administered by more than 180 utilities to help Minnesota households and businesses reduce their consumption of electricity and natural gas. “This comprehensive study makes it clear that energy efficiency is a smart, positive investment for our state,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The Conservation Improvement Program not only saves energy and reduces utility bills for Minnesota consumers and businesses. It also creates jobs, boosts our economy and protects our environment.” Conducted...
Attendees networking at the brewery
Joel Haskard
Thu, 10/15/2015 - 6:08pm
On Thursday, October 1st, over thirty folks gathered in New London’s Little Theatre to learn about the people, organizations, and funding opportunities to help them get their clean energy projects done. Erin Smith, the West Central Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Coordinator, led things off with a welcome and introductions. After that, a panel of utility experts gave an update on the resources and rebates they had to offer for their utility customers: Dan Tepfer, Kandiyohi Power Wes Hompe, General Manager, and Dave Opsahl, Willmar Public Utilities Ryan L. Bruers, Xcel Energy (New London service territory) – Download his presentation Afterwards, Erin gave an overview of the CERTs...
Recent community solar tour in Pelican Rapids
Maggie Kozak
Sun, 09/20/2015 - 1:01pm
Want to have a voice in Minnesota’s clean energy future? Participate in the upcoming Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan events! CERTs will host four (4) events to gather feedback from Minnesotans statewide. Attendees will have a chance to participate in small group discussions on two of these five topics: Energy planning Industry & agriculture Buildings & energy efficiency Mobility, transportation & fuels Energy supply & grid modernization Save your spot! Register at the links below or call 612-626-0555. Mankato – October 14th Staples – October 20th Grand Rapids – October 29th Saint Paul – October 22nd during...
Bonnie, grocery store owner in Clinton, MN
Joel Haskard
Tue, 09/15/2015 - 5:30pm
Bonnie Hometown Grocery is often the center of action for folks in Clinton, Minnesota (pop. 450). As owner of the store, Bonnie Carlson knows that the store is not only needed for groceries, but also provides a civic and social gathering place. She has to be creative looking for resources, and has held more than one community fundraiser to make sure her business survives. With an old, inefficient freezer adding high energy costs to her bottom line, she applied for a Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Seed Grant to help pay the installation costs. In addition to the grant, Bonnie’s had a very successful Kickstarter campaign ($17,965 raised from 75 backers!). With this combined funding the grocery store was able to install brand new, energy...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program
Diana McKeown
Fri, 09/11/2015 - 3:12pm
The Made in Minnesota (MiM) Solar Program is a lottery-based incentive available to Minnesotans who install solar equipment that is made in Minnesota. Metro CERT Director Diana McKeown sat down with Kim Havey, Made in Minnesota Solar Program Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, to learn more about the program and how it’s working in the state. Diana McKeown: How do you describe the Made in Minnesota Solar Program to people? Kim Havey: Made in Minnesota (MiM) is a program designed to grow jobs within the solar industry in Minnesota and support the installation of solar PV and thermal for residents and businesses. The program is ideally designed for residential and business rooftop solar installations but also can be used for ground mounted installations, which is ideal for farms. Legislation in...
CERTs Seed Grants
Lissa Pawlisch
Wed, 09/02/2015 - 5:53pm
Do you and your community need funding to get an energy efficiency or renewable energy project off the ground? The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) can help! CERTs seeks to provide Seed Grants to support the labor costs for clean energy projects that spur community development in Minnesota. Project proposals should be for community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that also provide forums for community education about the technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits. “Since 2006, CERTs has awarded more than $930,000 to over 230 projects,” said Lissa Pawlisch, Clean Energy Resource Teams Director. “Those projects ranged from energy efficiency for a food cooperative to solar power for schools, and much more.” Past projects can be seen at http://projects.mncerts.org. Highlights...
Tesla Powerwall
Isaac Mielke
Fri, 08/21/2015 - 7:48am
Tesla generated much publicity after its April introduction of the Powerwall. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it stores electricity for consumption, load shifting, and backup power. Intended for residential purposes, Tesla has partnered with SolarCity to sell the 10 kWh Powerwall systems for $5,000. The Powerwall can store solar energy from your solar panels and act as a backup power source during a power failure. It collects cheap energy from off-peak hours and releases it during peak consumption time, flattening demand spikes and saving money. Powered by renewable energy, this battery sits on a wall and autonomously switches on. One 10 kWh Powerwall supports a refrigerator, computer, lighting, alarm systems, and electrical outlets—and an optional second Powerwall completes the household. A 7 kWh model will also be...
Students tour solar panels with Just-B-Solar Camp, part of Just Community Solar Coalition's effort to educate youth
Jinny Kim
Sun, 08/16/2015 - 1:30pm
While it’s true that solar energy is more affordable and prevalent than ever before in Minnesota and across the US, high up-front costs and a large share of renters still prevents many low and middle income people from benefiting from the growth in solar. To narrow this gap, a handful of groups in Minnesota have been working to increase access to solar, regardless of income.   Just Community Solar Coalition   Just Community Solar Coalition is a project of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL) and their partners: Cooperative Energy Futures, Community Power, Sierra Club, and Renewable NRG Partners. The Coalition seeks to make solar production and solar training programs accessible...
Minnesota GreenStep Cities
Patrick Mathwig
Wed, 08/05/2015 - 5:55pm
The workshops during the 2014-2015 GreenStep Workshop Series covered a wide range of topics that are important to cities, providing a wealth of information and resources. To access that information and the resources from the workshops check out their webinar recordings and PDFs of their presentation and additional resources on this page! Also, don’t forget to register for upcoming workshops and webinars for 2015-2016!   October – Benchmarking and What the Heck is Step 4 Anyway?   No webinar recording is available for the October workshop, click here for a summary of the workshop.   November – Bike, Ped and Transit Options:   November workshop presentations and resources:...
40 Under 40 Award
Dan Thiede
Wed, 08/05/2015 - 11:26am
CERTs is a proud partner of Midwest Energy News’ recently launched 40 Under 40 Award program that seeks to highlight emerging leaders throughout the region who work to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy. The program is open to Midwest-based innovators from all sectors—government, business, regulatory, academic, advocacy, and industry—and nominations will be accepted until 10:00pm on Monday, August 17th. Are you, or do you know, a strong emerging leader who fits this criteria? Nominate her or him today!
Curious consumers tour LREC community solar garden in Pelican Rapids
Sarah Hayden Shaw
Tue, 08/04/2015 - 11:42am
On a sunny afternoon July 9, 2015, four regions of Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) co-hosted an event on community solar gardens (CSGs) at LREC’s facility in Pelican Rapids. Open to the public, the event included a discussion on CSGs, a panel of northern and central Minnesotan utilities to review their community solar efforts, and a tour of LREC’s Community Solar Installation. Students, local community members and leaders from utilities, businesses, and schools networked over lemonade. After a welcome from CERTs and LREC, Dan Husted, VP Energy Services, and Steve Haiby, Energy Services Supervisor of LREC, led a tour of LREC’s Community Solar Garden Installations on the grounds of the cooperative’s headquarters. With 100 kW of panels and 60 subscribers, the system utilizes tenK solar panels (which include a reflective film in the...
John Shardlow, Stantec
John Shardlow
Sat, 08/01/2015 - 3:52pm
One of the most important responsibilities our cities have is to build and maintain public infrastructure. The private sector invests in reliance on this public investment and together we build diverse communities, supporting a high quality of life for our citizens. In the Urban Land Institute’s publication Infrastructure 2014 – Shaping the Competitive City, 250 public sector leaders in local and regional government and 200 senior-level private developers were surveyed. The quality of infrastructure was the top ranked factor by both groups when identifying drivers of real estate investments. Cities face multiple challenges when building and maintaining infrastructure. It is often said that it is hard enough to garner public support for the revenues needed to maintain existing...
Isaac Mielke
Thu, 07/30/2015 - 2:11pm
Drive Electric Minnesota – an organization that promotes electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in charging infrastructure statewide—presents the Zero Emission Charging Challenge (ZECC). ZECC hopes to power all public charging stations with Windsource, Xcel Energy’s renewable energy program. EVs produce no air pollutants, but the electricity necessary for charging exhausts fossil fuels. However, EVs can use either wind or solar power. When paired with renewable energy, EVs eliminate all air pollutants while driving and charging. Solar-powered EV charging stations already exist in Albert Lea and Austin, as well as in the metro area at Como Park, McMurray Fields, SunRay Library, River Centre, the State Capital, Haaf Ramp, and the Minneapolis Public School Headquarters. Check out this interactive map to...
Green Jobs
Isaac Mielke
Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:06pm
Looking for a great green job in the clean energy sector? Below are four positions here in Minnesota that might be the perfect fit for you. Good luck with your applications!   Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) Executive Director This powerful position heads M-RETS. The Executive Director advises on policy, develops annual budgets, and serves as primary ambassador. M-RETS requires a passion for the renewable energy, five years of experience in the field, and extensive higher education. Learn more & apply >>   Neighborhood Energy Connection Communications Associate The Communications Associate writes newsletters, manages social media, and edits the website. Qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree and one year of related...
Isaac Mielke
Tue, 07/21/2015 - 12:20pm
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has recently partnered with the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) to offer online courses in its BuildingEnergy Masters Series. This partnership expands the MREA’s scope of training from renewable energy technologies to now include sustainable building practices as well. NESEA’s BuildingEnergy Masters Series runs on a platform powered by HeatSpring to give students access to the masters of building science, on their own time, from any location. Fall 2015 Courses Passive House in the Real World is a four-week online course that focuses on tips, tricks, pitfalls, and what to expect when making Passive House a reality. Led by instructor Mike Duclos, the course runs from September 14 to October 9, 2015. Deep Energy Retrofits is a 10-week online course taught by Marc Rosenbaum. Learn to “fix what we have” by examining...

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