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.

Through Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota, CERTs offers custom project assistance and tools to those interested in pursuing renewable energy projects.

Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota


  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

Download Factsheets:


  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




Case Study

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

View mobile/fullscreen map >>

  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.

Grants can cover up to 25% of eligible project costs, and loans can cover up to 75% of eligible project costs.

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.
USDA Rural Development
  • For Grants: Applications for renewable energy or energy efficiency grants are due October 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017. 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 submitted at any time.

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
Sample Application

2. Energy Efficiency Project
Sample Application

Renewable Energy Sample Application - fill out form to download Energy Efficiency Improvement Project Sample Application - fill out form to download

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


Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners.

PACE could be a perfect companion to REAP funding in Minnesota.

Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing.

See more resources and available programs >>

See more resources and available programs


  Contact Us

Want to chat about a potential project? Contact Fritz at CERTs.

Fritz Ebinger 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: or 612-626-1028.


  Thanks to USDA for their support

USDA Rural Development 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

Media coverage of this project:

Minnesotans building a clean energy future


    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission