Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota
Solar, wind, and biomass are plentiful sources of clean energy in Minnesota, and we’re here to help farmers and rural small businesses get projects done.
What we’re offering
Thinking about renewable energy and energy efficiency?
CERTs can help you:
Explore projects that could work for your farm or business
Identify potential funding and financing options
Get one-on-one assistance on your project
Project Examples in Minnesota
It’s often useful to learn about what others have done to think about projects that could work for you.
All of the examples below feature renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at Minnesota farms and small businesses.
Farm or Business
|Angvall Hardware||Lester Prairie||Solar PV||REAP, Utility||Learn more|
|Blue Line Travel Center||Worthington||LED Lighting||REAP, PACE||Learn more|
|A Laundry Room||Ely||Solar Thermal||Grant||Learn more|
|Colonial Cleaners||Worthington||Efficient Appliances||REAP, Utility||Learn more|
|Cozy Corners Campground||Richmond||Solar PV||PACE||Learn more|
|Parkwood Place Apartments||Mountain Lake||LED Lighting, Equipment||PACE||Learn more|
|Red’s IGA Grocery||Spring Grove||Cooler Doors||REAP||Learn more|
|Harmony Food Cooperative||Bemidji||Solar PV||Crowdfunding||Learn more|
|SMSC Surgery Center||Marshall||Solar PV||Tax Credits||Learn more|
|Otten Bros. Flower Farm||Delano||Solar PV||PACE||Learn more|
|Popp Family Farm||Royalton||Solar PV, Wind||REAP, Utility||Learn more|
|Gibbs Dairy||Altura||Solar PV||Utility||Learn more|
|Reese Family Dairy||Goodhue||Solar Thermal||Grant||Learn more|
|Hoffman Farms||Chatfield||LED Lighting, Equipment||Utility||Learn more|
|Langmo Bros. Farm||Darwin||LED Lighting||Grant, Utility||Learn more|
|Paradox Farm||Ashby||Passive Solar||Grant||Learn more|
|Guentzel Family Farms||Eagle Lake||Solar PV||Tax Credits||Learn more|
|Featherstone Fruits & Vegetables||Rushford||Solar PV||Grant||Learn more|
|Fuller Family Farm||Trimont||Solar PV, Geothermal||Tax Credits||Learn more|
|Jorgenson Hog Farm||Westbrook||Solar PV, Wind||REAP, Tax Credits||Learn more|
USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
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. The next deadline for applications is in early 2016. There is also a shorter application that can be completed without the help of a grant writer for smaller projects.
- For Grants: Applications for renewable energy or energy efficiency grants are due and . Projects requesting grants of up to $20,000 ($80,000 or less total project cost) can fill out a shorter application.
- For Loans: The Guaranteed Loan-only program will now accept and process applications on a continual basis throughout the year so applications can be .
Are you eligible? REAP is for all farmers, and for rural small businesses that are located in communities with populations less than 50,000. While businesses located in Rochester, Duluth, Mankato, St. Cloud, and the core of the Twin Cities wouldn’t be eligible, nearly the entire rest of the state is eligible (including many Metro suburbs and exurbs). Click here to see a map of eligibility. Then, click on the link above the REAP program (among others), and then click Accept on the Property Eligibility Disclaimer. You’ll be routed to a map where you can enter an exact address to see clearly whether it sits in an ineligible area for REAP.
Want to learn more? Read a recent interview with USDA staff or visit the MN REAP webpage where you can read the entire rule and see a more detailed description of the scoring changes. See below to access sample REAP applications with helpful notes.
Need an energy audit? As part of the REAP application process you’ll need to get an energy audit. If you haven’t gotten one before, watch a video to learn more. Talk to your electric utility about whether or not they provide audits.
Companion Loan: You might also consider applying for a Farm Opportunity Loan from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Access Sample REAP Applications
CERTs has created two REAP sample applications using the short form (projects $80k or less).
Notes in the sample applications include helpful instructions and a breakdown of how the USDA will score prospective projects. The two samples are for a hypothetical agricultural producer interested in (1) a Renewable Energy System or (2) an Energy Efficiency Improvement Project.
1. Renewable Energy System
2. Energy Efficiency Project
Fill out the form below to access the documents you need to get started and submit a winning application!
Why are we asking for some contact info? As part of Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota CERTs would like to be able to follow up with you to see how we can help your project move forward. We won’t share your contact info with anyone.
Use PACE to Finance Energy Projects
Want to chat about a potential project? Contact Fritz at CERTs.
|Fritz Ebinger is the CERTs Rural Energy Development Program Manager for UofM RSDP and Extension. In this role, he works on energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives with agricultural producers to reduce farm production costs and advance utility conservation planning. Fritz graduated from St. John’s University in 2001 and served in the Peace Corps as an Agroforestry Volunteer in Panama from 2001-2003. He attended Drake Law School, graduating and passing the Minnesota Bar in 2008. While at Drake, he focused on agricultural, environmental, and natural resources law and wrote for the Drake Agricultural Law Journal. Following graduation, Fritz clerked for Judges Joe Chase and Robert Birnbaum in Minnesota’s Third Judicial District from 2008-2010 and was a solo practitioner from 2011-2013. Most recently, he comes to CERTs from The Minnesota Project where he managed their farm energy programs.|
|Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-626-1028.|
|Renewable Energy for Greater MN is made possible by USDA’s Energy Audits – Renewable Energy Development Assistance grant program (EA-REDA). Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $36.4 million in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural communities throughout Minnesota. For more information on EA-REDA or REAP, please visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/mn.|
Media coverage of this project:
- Mankato Free Press – Eagle Lake Farm Solar Powered
- Radio Works with Sonja Langseth Interview – Renewable energy for Minnesota farms and businesses
- KSMQ Farm Connections – Solar Energy at Featherstone Fruits & Vegetables
- Austin Daily Herald – Energy initiative aims to help farms, businesses reduce costs with renewable energy, efficiency
- Alexandria Echo Press – New program helps farms, businesses reduce costs
- The Land – Energy team jumps through hoops so you don’t have to
- The Land – Dairy farmers harvesting wind, sun
- The Land – Solar energy growing crops, powering farms
- Duluth News Tribune – New effort supports rural businesses in adopting renewable energy projects
- The Farmer – New program helps farms reduce energy costs with renewable energy
- Dairyland Peach – New program helps Minnesota farms, businesses reduce costs with renewable energy
- Rochester Post-Bulletin – Greenspace: Farmer finds energy grant no turkey
- Fargo/Moorhead Forum – Minn. program offers help with energy projects
- Press Release – Launching Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota Program
- Farm & Ranch Guide – USDA Announces Grant on Earth Day
- St. Cloud Times – Grant tests wood-fueled heat for Albany poultry barn
- The Land – Family saves barn, invests in renewable energy