Farmers Project Planning Resources


There are many opportunities to save energy and money on Minnesota farms, and renewable energy allows farmers to benefit from sun, biomass, and wind in totally new ways.

Farm in Pierz, MN with solar PV. Photo credit: Innovative Power Systems

    Learn About Your Clean Energy Options

Get an energy assessment

On-farm energy assessments are tailored to each agricultural operation’s primary energy uses. The assessments help producers determine the amount of energy used by the entire operation and also identify the short- and long-term measures producers can implement to conserve energy and achieve greater production efficiencies. Often your electric utility will offer some form of energy assessment—contact them to learn more.

Dairy Efficiency

  • Plate coolers and boiler upgrades
  • Efficient lighting
  • Variable speed drives
  • Efficient ventilation

Poultry Efficiency

  • Insulation and building envelope improvements
  • Ventilation controls
  • Radiant heating systems
  • LED lighting technology

Grain Efficiency

  • Low-speed centrifugal fans
  • In-bin drying systems
  • Timing and controlling motor use

Greenhouse Efficiency

  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Energy-saving LED grow lights
  • Efficient heating equipment

Consider renewable energy

If you’re already saving energy on your farm, it might be time to think about renewable energy. Solar is the easiest and lowest maintenance solution, but biomass and small wind could be worth considering, too. Check out our factsheets to learn more: Solar | Biomass | Wind

    Get Rebates from Your Electric Utility

It’s always a good idea to talk with your electric utility about your energy efficiency and renewable energy plans. Many of them offer audits, rebates, and other programs to meet their customers’ needs. Give the member services number a call or visit their website to learn more about what they offer. Often these rebates can be paired with the funding opportunities.

    Funding Opportunities for Farmers

    Offerings from the Clean Energy Resource Teams

Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota

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. CERTs offers tools to pursuing renewable energy projects.
  Milk the Savings Dairy Energy Efficiency Program

Milk the Savings: Dairy Energy Efficiency Program: CERTs can answer questions about energy efficiency for dairy barns and will guide you through the funding options available for barn energy efficiency upgrades. We can help you consider renewable energy options, too.

Stories, events, and more for farmers

Farmers Blog Posts

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...
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 09/28/2016 - 12:31pm
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson asks livestock producers to apply for a portion of $2 million in grants available for on-farm improvements. “Livestock Investment Grants help farmers stay competitive and reinvest...
Participants learn about LED lighting at Blue Lake Plastics in Sauk Centre
Joel Haskard
Tue, 07/19/2016 - 1:16pm
On Thursday, July 14th, over 20 people gathered in Sauk Centre for a tour of LED lighting for businesses and farms. The town was bustling with Sinclair Lewis Days, but CERTs was there to geek out about energy efficient lighting! Starting at ElmerZ...

Farmers Case Studies

From the winter of 2012 through the spring of 2013, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance conducted a study on the use of open loop air ventilation systems as well as solar-powered furnaces (SPF) in high tunnels. The study used three high tunnels—one each with the aforementioned heating sytems respectively, and one with no supplemental heating in order to...
Since 2000, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) has been serving low income communities in Central Minnesota by developing, manufacturing, and installing solar hot water and air heaters to help families reduce their heating fuel dependence and lower their energy bills.
As residents of the Midwest know, the growing season is painfully short. When it’s twenty below, what else can you do besides go to the supermarket and buy tomatoes shipped from thousands of miles away? Whitewater Farms in Altura, Minnesota has found a solution. The farm, owned and operated by Sandy and Lonny Dietz, contains a geothermal greenhouse...
Farmers Project Planning

Looking for technology resources?

Explore technology resources
If you’re looking to learn more about a specific technology, like energy efficiency, solar, or wind, we have what you’re looking for. Our technology resources include everything from basic introductions and frequently asked questions to CERTs case studies to recent reports and organizations that can help you go deeper. Learn more.

CERTs Supported Projects

See CERTs-supported projects
CERTs awards Seed Grants to community groups for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. See projects or learn more about grants.

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