CERTs Seed Grants Request for Proposals

 
CERTs is not currently accepting applications for Seed Grants. Please use the resources below to prepare for future rounds of funding.


CERTs Seed Grants 2016 Seed Grants

The Clean Energy Resource Teams are excited to announce 39 Seed Grant awards to organizations in the seven Minnesota CERT regions. Each region awarded around $20,000 worth of grants, catalyzing energy efficiency and renewable energy across the state. CERTs has awarded over $1 million in Seed Grants to 269 projects since 2006.

Continue reading to explore a map of projects and see details about each of the grants. To learn more about past funded projects, visit our CERTs Seed Grants page.

Download a PDF with all projects   |   See press release on grants



CENTRAL

 
Central Region Lake Region Takes Root: Solar in the Garden
Fergus Falls, MN – Lake Region Takes Root (LRTR) community garden is looking to install solar to benefit neighboring condominiums. In addition to the education about food the community garden provides, Lake Region Takes Root seeks to educate their community about renewable energy. One way to do this is by installing solar in the garden. Throughout the project, they will inform and educate the community on the progress and benefits of solar energy. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $2,100)

Detroit Lakes Public Utilities: Community Solar Project
Detroit Lakes, MN – Detroit Lakes Public Utilities (DLPU) will be installing a 20 kW community solar garden in 2016. There will be forty-eight 410-watt panels available for purchase. Customers of DLPU will pay an initial upfront cost and in turn the monthly kWh output of their panels will be credited to their electric bill. This project is the perfect opportunity for DLPU customers to engage in a local renewable energy project. DLPU has approximately 7,070 customers that will be eligible to participate in the program. (Renewable Energy: Solar electric: $2,000)

AgInspire: Renewable Energy Education Kits
Central, Northwest and Southeast CERT Regions, MN – The Renewable Energy Education Kits project will be a collection of educational activity kits focused on wind, solar, biomass/fuel, and general energy concepts. These kits will be designed to maximize educational technology and interactivity during short 5-10 minute implementations that inspire and encourage further learning/engagement beyond the event experience. These kits will then be taken to a Central MN county fair during summer 2016 to be used along with their regular exhibit, the Ag Cab Lab. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Lighting Upgrades; Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; Passive Solar; Wind; Biomass/Biofuels; $3,000)

Paws and Claws Animal Shelter: 40 kW Solar Array
Hackensack, MN – Paws and Claws Animal Shelter, a 501c3 non-profit, has an investor willing to build a 40 kW solar array using the Third Party PPA financing model. Through this model, Paws and Claws will benefit from reduced cost power and, after five years, be able to purchase the solar system at a reduced cost. The funding requested will support technical assistance for the project and development of legal documents required to meet IRS regulations, including the development of a Power Purchase Agreement, Land Lease Agreement, Put and Call Agreement and other documents. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $2,000)

Lutheran Church of the Cross: 7.56 kW Ground-Mount PV System Project
Nisswa, MN – Lutheran Church of the Cross (LCC), Nisswa, Minnesota, will install a 7.56 kW ground-mounted photovoltaic system producing 9,615 kWhs annually to save 10% on its electric bill. Located on State Highway 371, the project will be a highly visible renewable energy demonstration project for the community, who use the church as an outreach center, and thousands of seasonal visitors to the Brainerd Lakes area. The project was conceived of and led by LCC’s Creation Care Team to meet the church’s eco-spirituality mission to lead by example in pursuing justice and sustainability for creation through individual and community action, learning, and advocacy. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $5,900)

Honor the Earth: Pine Point Village Solar Thermal
Pine Point Village, White Earth Reservation, MN – This project will provide Pine Point Village residents access to cheap and reliable spacing heating through the long winter season. Currently, many homes in the village rely on electric heat, and do not have adequate weatherization. Through partnerships with the Tribe and other regional organizations, they will weatherize and install solar air systems on 20 homes. Installation of panels will be conducted by trained Tribal members and will include workshops to train additional installers. These installers will also be trained on weatherization practices, and will help form the core of the larger White Earth Renewables Project team. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Renewable Energy: Solar Air Heat; $5,000)

Download list of projects for this region >>


METRO

 
Metro Region Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL): Energy Efficiency Teams
Minneapolis, MN – The Energy Efficiency Team of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MNIPL) will conduct outreach to faith communities of all denominations in the twin cities Metro area and connect those entities to EnerChange and the US Green Building Council in Minnesota to increase energy efficiency and conservation efforts. Their process will provide education and raise awareness, help communities of faith receive energy assessments from EnerChange, lead them through a plan of action, and then help them achieve their goals. They will then spread the story of these successes to increase awareness and help individuals become energized to work towards making their homes energy efficient. (Energy efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Building Envelope and Lighting Upgrades; $5,000)

Chisago Lakes Chamber of Commerce: Chisago Lakes Area Hub
Chisago, MN – Chisago Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Eutectics will utilize the seed grant money to conduct outreach to the community as part of developing a Clean Energy Financing Hub for the Chisago Lakes area. The Hub will create a community-based public-private partnership in order to build clean energy financing solutions for all economic sectors within the region. The community outreach includes small and medium enterprises (commercial and not-for-profit), large commercial and industrial customers, public buildings, and single-family and multifamily residents. The Hub will leverage public and private financing tools to create streamlined access to technical expertise for businesses, property owners and residents, and qualified contractors to implement clean energy projects. (Energy efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Building Envelope and Lighting Upgrades; Renewable Energy: Solar Thermal and Solar Electric; Additional Technologies: Geothermal; $4,000)

Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin: Community Solar for Community Action
Hennepin County, MN – Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin (CAPSH) will embark on a year-long planning process in partnership with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) to deploy community solar for low-income Minnesotans. The partners will engage industry and business leaders and energy professionals from within the Community Action network to facilitate discussions as part of a comprehensive stakeholder process. This will lead to a comprehensive plan that focuses on barriers to lower income solar deployment and the potential solutions to overcome them, while planning for an aggressive implementation the following year in Suburban Hennepin County. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $5,000)

City of Elk River: Elk River Fuel Efficient Fleet
Elk River, MN – The City of Elk River Fleet Committee and the Energy City Commission are seeking measures to improve the city fleet mileage average, currently at 9 mpg. In order to implement a program that is efficient, cost effective, and beneficial, the city will conduct a feasibility study to identify options for action. The City of Elk River will work with existing resources and programs to analyze their fleet. The City will then assemble a guide for other Minnesota cities to use via the GreenStep Cities program. The guide will detail what information to gather when assessing city fleets, possible action steps, available resources, and any other tools to increase the adoption of more energy-efficient city fleets. (Additional Technologies: Fleet improvement; EV recharge system; $2,000)

Cleveland Neighborhood Association: Home Energy Efficiency Outreach for Underrepresented Residents
North Minneapolis, MN – The Cleveland Neighborhood Association will work in partnership with the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), Xcel Energy, and CenterPoint Energy to create a plan for how neighborhoods in Minneapolis can work with the City’s Clean Energy Partnership to reach underserved communities, especially communities with language barriers. The partners will create and pilot an outreach model for increasing Home Energy Squad participation in underrepresented neighborhoods. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; $3,000)

Tangletown Neighborhood Association: Small Business Rooftop Solar Assessments
Minneapolis, MN – The Tangletown Partners – Rooftop Solar Assessments project will evaluate potential host sites for local rooftop solar. The project will provide independent building assessments through the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) for up to 4 business rooftops within the neighborhood for promising candidates. All businesses reached will also receive information about energy efficiency/conservation resources and programs. If any viable host sites are identified, the partners will connect those businesses with additional resources to take the initial steps to install solar arrays on their roofs. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $1,000)

Download list of projects for this region >>


NORTHEAST

 
Northeast Region City of Biwabik: City Hall LED Retrofit
Biwabik, MN – This project will be a lighting retrofit for the City Hall offices. City Hall is the heart of the Biwabik community and many community members and citizens from surrounding communities visit the building and would be able to observe the results of the project. The key goals of the project are to replace older inefficient T-12 fluorescent lighting fixtures in the City Hall building with modern efficient LED lighting fixtures. This project will save electric energy and costs to the city as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Energy Efficiency: Lighting Upgrades; $2,000)

Cook County Local Energy Project: Energy Skills Share
Cook County, MN – Energy Skills Share is a series of events that emphasize sustainability energy practices. This collaboration is between Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) and North House Folk School (NHFS). The project will expand upon NHFS’s Makin’ It Through Winter Series to include energy-related curriculum created by CCLEP. Through film, renewable solar system demonstration, hands-on energy efficiency skills and story-telling, Energy Skills Share will engage the local community and visiting public with fun informative evening sessions. (Energy Efficiency: Behavior change; Building Envelope; Lighting Upgrades Renewable Energy: Solar thermal hot water; Solar electric; $2,000)

Ecolibrium 3: Giving Comfort at Home
Duluth, MN – Giving Comfort At Home (GC@H) is a volunteer-driven program under the supervision of qualified Ecolibrium3 staff serving income-eligible, elderly, disabled and/or veteran homeowners who have the need for home energy improvements/repairs, but may not qualify for weatherization assistance or low-interest loans. The secondary application of this program will be as a training opportunity for income-advantaged homeowners so they can complete work on their own homes, thereby extending energy efficiency knowledge and application beyond this program. This supervised training will occur as part of volunteer time by these homeowners on a GC@H home. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Building Envelope; Lighting Upgrades; $5,000)

Friends of the Finland Community: LED Upgrades at the Clair Nelson Center
Finland, MN – This project will replace 10 outdoor metal halide light fixtures with LED fixtures resulting in safer, more energy efficient and cost effective lighting for the Clair Nelson Finland Community Center. Everything they do has a community aspect. The Center is a high traffic facility used by a diverse array of people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Keeping the Clair Nelson Center running is one of the biggest things the Friends of the Finland Community does and any way to reduce the cost of operating the Center will stretch their limited budget and allow for more focus on offering programs and services. (Energy Efficiency: Lighting Upgrades; $1,500)

Minnesota Discovery Center: Educational Solar PV Project
Chisholm, MN – Minnesota Discovery Center seeks to install a solar photovoltaic array in a highly visible area for educational purposes. A nearby museum display will include interpretive information for visitors to learn about solar energy and relate this on-site installation with its real-world impacts. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $3,000)

Orr Recreation and Resource Center: Orr Center LED Exit, Emergency, and Security Lighting Project
Orr, MN – The ORR Center’s goal is to be self-sustainable, and to promote energy efficiency and current technologies. The installation of four new wood burning boilers is currently under way to provide heat and hot water in the building. Installation of solar panels is planned for the future to provide electrical power. The key goal of the LED lighting project is to provide more efficient and economical lighting. (Energy Efficiency: Lighting Upgrades; $3,000)

Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, Arrowhead Regional Network (MNIPL ARN): Youth Be the Spark in NE MN Faith Communities
Duluth, MN – The project will engage youth from communities of faith in the Duluth area in developing their commitment, knowledge and skills to lead in energy reduction at home and in their faith communities. Youth will participate in a day long outdoor experiential leadership development workshop, hands-on service learning with MNIPL ARN volunteers and Ecolibrium3, and sustained mentorship to support youth in mobilizing their faith communities to take individual and collective action to reduce their carbon footprint through energy efficiency and renewable energy. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Renewable Energy $3,500)

Download list of projects for this region >>


NORTHWEST

 
Northwest Region Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians: Red Lake Charter School / Business Incubator
Red Lake Reservation, MN – Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, its Red Lake Entrepreneur Program (RLEP) and emerging Charter School will work with a professional, certified commercial energy auditor to conduct either a Level II or Level III energy audit of the RL Humanities Center to repurpose and upgrade the building as a business incubator and school. The project will educate the community and other RL business and government entities through a highly visible project on the value and opportunity in energy efficiency and renewable energy for the Red Lake Reservation. (Energy Efficiency: Low-cost/ no-cost upgrades; Building Envelope; Lighting Upgrades; $5,000)

White Earth Land Recovery Project: White Earth Community Solar Install
White Earth Reservation, MN – White Earth reservation has huge un-actualized potential for renewable energy. Not only is the reservation solar and wind rich, but the tribe has had training programs in renewables. It is a goal of the White Earth Land Recovery Project to further actualize some of this potential by installing solar heaters in community homes and sharing the knowledge as an active community education program through their radio station KKWE, Niijii Broadcasting. They will improve the livelihoods and quality of life for tribal families on the White Earth Reservation with the installation of efficient solar air heating systems on homes. (Energy Efficiency: Behavior change; Renewable Energy: Solar air heat; $5,000)

Headwaters Regional Development Commission: Northwest Clean Energy Financing-Beltrami County
Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, and Mahnomen counties, MN – The HRDC’s region faces many challenges. It is one of the most poverty stricken areas of the state and also one of the coldest. Utility bills in the winter can put families as well as businesses and organizations into a very tough spot when money is already tight. Energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations are often not initiated due to high up-front costs. They will address this barrier in a two-pronged approach, conducting education and outreach on financing opportunities individually targeted to: 1) governments, schools, tribes, businesses and non-profits; and 2) their low-Income population. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Building Envelope; Lighting Upgrades; Renewable Energy: Solar Air Heat; Solar Thermal Hot Water; Solar Electric; $3,450)

Voyageurs Expeditionary School: Keep the Lights Out, Energy Reduction
Bemidji, MN – Voyageurs Expeditionary School will install light sensors in each classroom to reduce electrical energy use. They plan to have the students calculate the current energy consumption and predict future usage. The school will evaluate the reduction in energy consumption with installing motion sensor light switches. (Energy Efficiency; Lighting upgrades; $3,550)

AgInspire: Renewable Energy Education Kits
Northwest, Central and Southeast CERT Regions, MN – The Renewable Energy Education Kits project will be a collection of educational activity kits focused on wind, solar, biomass/fuel, and general energy concepts. These kits will be designed to maximize educational technology and interactivity during short 5-10 minute implementations that inspire and encourage further learning/engagement beyond the event experience. These kits will then be taken to a Northwest MN county fair during summer 2016 to be used along with their regular exhibit, the Ag Cab Lab. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Lighting Upgrades; Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; Passive Solar; Wind; Biomass/Biofuels; $3,000)

Download list of projects for this region >>


SOUTHEAST

 
Southeast Region AgInspire: Renewable Energy Education Kits
Southeast, Central and Northwest CERT Regions, MN – The Renewable Energy Education Kits project will be a collection of educational activity kits focused on wind, solar, biomass/fuel, and general energy concepts. These kits will be designed to maximize educational technology and interactivity during short 5-10 minute implementations that inspire and encourage further learning/engagement beyond the event experience. These kits will then be taken to a Southeast MN county fair during summer 2016 to be used along with their regular exhibit, the Ag Cab Lab. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Lighting Upgrades; Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; Passive Solar; Wind; Biomass/Biofuels; $2,414)

Lake Crystal Municipal Utility: Beat the Peak Program
Lake Crystal, MN – Lake Crystal Municipal Utilities’ (LCMU) voluntary “Beat the Peak” program is designed to help customers become more energy aware and lower their power bills by using energy more efficiently and reducing the energy consumed during peak usage periods. When LCMU identifies a “peak,” participants will be asked to turn off unnecessary lights and appliances and delay use of major appliances. Additionally, participants will be entered into an energy savings competition, receive free enrollment in LCMU’s load management program, a home energy audit from a member of LCMU’s staff and a credit on their monthly utility bill. (Energy Efficiency: Behavior change; $4,445)

Ney Nature Center: Harnessing the Power of the Sun
Henderson, MN – The Ney Nature Center will be installing a solar array, interactive monitoring system, and interpretive display to demonstrate and interpret this technology while using the electricity produced within day-to-day operations. This solar array system will bring the issues of their dependence on fossil fuels and provide insight to alternative energy to the attention of park visitors, program participants and the local community. (Energy Efficiency: Behavior change; Renewable Energy: Solar electric; $4,023)

Rochester EarthFest: 2016 Expo
Rochester, MN – The 2016 EarthFest Expo will be on April 24, 2016 at the Mayo Civic Center. The one-day Expo is the part of the week-long Rochester EarthFest celebration, which included 20 events in 2015. EarthFest volunteers worked with Rochester Mayor Brede to develop the “100% Renewable Energy by 2031” proclamation and this will be the theme of the event, promoted through speakers, vendors, resources, and classes. (Energy Efficiency: Renewable Energy and Additional Technologies will be highlighted; $4,023)

St. Dominic Parish: Communicating our Progress on Energy Savings Project
Northfield, MN – Students will inventory all the appliances and electronic equipment in every room of St. Dominic School, test how much energy they use, and find the most energy-wasting equipment – the energy hogs. Students will label the energy uses and present their inventory and alternatives at an energy fair where other students, parents and parishioners are invited. Inventory will include the new LED lighting and boiler. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Building Envelope; Lighting Upgrades; change from steam to hot water boiler; $4,023)

Region Nine Development Commission: Community Solar Garden Workshops
Southeast, Southwest and West Central CERT Regions, MN – This project is to develop and conduct three community solar garden-focused workshops in Region Nine (9 counties surrounding Mankato). The primary objectives of the workshop are to educate potential solar garden subscribers and help them make an informed decision about participating as a community solar garden subscriber. A secondary objective of the workshops is to educate potential landowners interested in serving as host sites about solar garden land leases. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $1,072)

Download list of projects for this region >>


SOUTHWEST

 
Southwest Region Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP): Community Solar Gardens in SW Minnesota
Slayton, MN – SWMHP will work with rural communities, small municipal utilities, and cooperative power companies in the SW Minnesota region to: a) evaluate whether community solar is a viable option and how it can be implemented as an energy alternative for a community that supports affordable housing development; and b) either create an implementation strategy to move forward in a community (which could be replicated) or develop a synopsis of barriers and challenges currently preventing communities from moving in this direction. (Energy Efficiency: Behavior change; Renewable Energy: Solar electric; $5,000)

City of Slayton: City Entrance Sign Solar Panels
Slayton, MN – The city of Slayton is installing three new entrance signs. These signs will be backlit with LED lights behind the lettering. They will be installing three 280 watt capacity solar panels to power these signs so they are off the grid. (Energy Efficiency: Lighting upgrades; Renewable Energy: Solar electric; Other technologies: Energy Storage; $2,025)

City of Trimont: Community Building Heating and Cooling, LED Street Lights
Trimont, MN – The Trimont Community Building is approximately 25 years old and the heating and cooling system is original to the building. The building is home to the city hall office, council meeting room, police office and a public works shop. The meeting room is frequently used by community groups and others for meetings and gatherings. The city will purchase and install a new system that will save a substantial amount of energy and city funds. In addition, the City of Trimont has 21 gooseneck street lights on Main Street and plans to purchase and install LED heads for existing poles to provide a safe, efficient, and cost effective source of lighting for their residents and for visitors to Trimont. (Energy Efficiency: Building envelope; Lighting Upgrades; $3,442)

Region Nine Development Commission: Community Solar Garden Workshop
Southwest, West Central and Southeast CERT Regions, MN – This project is to develop and conduct three community solar garden-focused workshops in Region Nine (9 counties surrounding Mankato). The primary objectives of the workshop are to educate potential solar garden subscribers and help them make an informed decision about participating as a community solar garden subscriber. A secondary objective of the workshops is to educate potential landowners interested in serving as host sites about solar garden land leases. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $1,333)

Download list of projects for this region >>


WEST CENTRAL

 
West Central Region Pomme De Terre Foods Inc: Energy Efficiency Project
Morris, MN – Pomme De Terre Foods Inc (PDT) is seeking to improve energy efficiency standards and operations for its facility located in Morris MN. As the local purveyor of healthy and local foods PDT believes that improving energy efficiency at the store front will be an excellent public example of how energy efficiency initiatives can have a direct impact on the public perception of energy usage and conservation practices. (Energy Efficiency: Behavior Change; Building Envelope; Commercial Energy Efficiency measures; $2,500)

Willmar Community Theatre: Upgrading Building Lighting
Willmar, MN – The Willmar Community Theatre, known as “The Barn Theatre” is replacing antiquated incandescent and T12 linear florescent lighting fixtures, 66 total fixtures, with modern LEDs equipped with dimming and occupancy sensing controls. These fixtures are in areas of high visibility and frequent use, including the main entrance, the lobby, the ticket box office, and administrative offices. As a community theatre, thousands of patrons visit The Barn Theatre’s building each year, and this effort will demonstrate the theatre’s lighting practices and desire to be efficient and responsible. In addition, The Barn Theatre hopes others, after seeing and experiencing the change in their building, will in-turn make similar investments to their buildings. (Energy Efficiency: Lighting Upgrades; $5,000)

City of Morris: Morris Model Clean Energy Hub
Morris, MN – The City of Morris, University of Minnesota Morris and Eutectics will implement the Morris Model Clean Energy Hub. The Hub creates a community-based public-private partnership in order to build clean energy financing solutions for all economic sectors within a region, including small and medium enterprises (commercial and not-for-profit), large commercial and industrial customers; public buildings, and single-family and multifamily residents. The Hub leverages public and private financing tools to create streamlined access for businesses, property owners and residents to technical expertise, qualified contractors and the financing tools to implement clean energy projects. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Building Envelope; Lighting Upgrades; HVAC Upgrades/Replacement; Renewable Energy: Solar thermal hot water; solar electric; Additional Technologies: Geothermal; $5,000)

City of Hutchinson: Minnesota ENERGY STAR Challenge Implementation
Hutchinson, MN – The City of Hutchinson has been accepted as a Minnesota ENERGY STAR® Challenge Community Partner to gain support leading community outreach regarding energy conservation and cost saving efforts in the city. The Challenge requests a matching cash contribution of the services offered to the community to offset some of the direct costs of the program. A seed grant will allow the City to provide this cash match, lessening financial burdens on the City and partners and ensuring program success. (Energy Efficiency: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades; Behavior Change; Building Envelope; Lighting Upgrades, ENERGY STAR certification; $5,000)

Region Nine Development Commission: Community Solar Garden Workshop
West Central, Southeast and Southwest CERT Regions, MN – This project is to develop and conduct three community solar garden-focused workshops in Region Nine (9 counties surrounding Mankato). The primary objectives of the workshop are to educate potential solar garden subscribers and help them make an informed decision about participating as a community solar garden subscriber. A secondary objective of the workshops is to educate potential landowners interested in serving as host sites about solar garden land leases. (Renewable Energy: Solar Electric; $1,334)

Download list of projects for this region >>


Past Seed Grant Application Resources

CERTs Seed Grants
Contents:

 



Request for Proposals (RFP)

Review the Official RFP The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) seeks applications for limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.

Project funding can support technical assistance services (i.e., labor costs only, such as for a consultant, design professional, installer, or student labor) for projects in all seven Minnesota CERT regions: Central, Metro, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and West Central.

The Clean Energy Resource Teams—or CERTs—are a statewide partnership with a shared mission to connect individuals and their communities to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects.

The primary objectives of this funding are to:

  • Encourage the implementation of community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota CERT regions
  • Provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits

Review the Official RFP to learn more >>

Funding for these projects is provided through the MN Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.



Application Form

Download the Application Download the Application: To download CERT Seed Grant Application Form for the 2016 round of funding, please click here to provide your name and email address and then click “Next”. You will then be able to download the document. We’re collecting your email address so that we can follow up with you regarding any updates to the seed grant application process.

Applying to Multiple Regions? A single project may apply for funding from more than one region if the project spans more than one region. Applicants applying to multiple regions are required to complete a Multiple-Regions Application Addendum that must be requested from either Lissa Pawlisch or Joel Haskard at rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org or by calling 612-624-2293 or 612-625-8759, respectively.

Your Region: If you’re wondering what region you’re in, click here to see a regional map. You can also visit each region’s webpage to view more details about the region’s priorities: Central, Metro, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, West Central.

Questions? Click here to read a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you still have questions after reading the FAQ, you can contact CERT coordination staff:

  • Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and West Central Regions:
    Lissa Pawlisch & Joel Haskard, University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships & Extension
    (612) 624-2293 or pawl0048@umn.edu and (612) 625-8759 or haska004@umn.edu

  • Metro Region:
    Diana McKeown, Great Plains Institute
    (612) 278-7158 or dmckeown@gpisd.net
  • Southwest Region:
    Annette Fiedler, SW Regional Development Commission
    (507) 836-1631 or phydev@swrdc.org
  • West Central Region:
    Erin Smith, West Central CERT Coordinator
    (320) 289-1981 Ext.110 or erin.smith@umrvdc.org



Submitting Your Application

Submit your Application Please submit all proposals electronically to rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org no later than 4:00pm on Monday, October 26th, 2015.

Be sure to include:

  • CERT Seed Grant Application form (Word format preferred)
  • Documentation of project impacts (if applicable)
  • Letters of Commitment from project team members based outside of applicant organization (if applicable)
  • Documentation of secured funding (if applicable)
  • Multiple-Regions Application Addendum (if applicable)



Sharing Tools

Share Thanks for helping us spread the word about CERTs Seed Grant funding! Below is language for sharing, photos, a press release, a flier, and audio files. Need something else to spread the word? Contact Dan Thiede at thie0235@umn.edu or 612-626-0556.



Past CERTs Seed Grant Recipients

CERTs awards seed grants to community groups for energy efficiency and clean energy projects across Minnesota. We awarded grants in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.

This map includes all projects ever funded by CERTs, color-coded by the year the award was given. Click on a map marker to learn more about individual projects.



Project Planning & Impact Tools

Below are tools by CERTs and others to help you estimate the energy impacts of technology implementation projects. Community, educational, research, or other impacts are to be documented within the CERTs Seed Grant Application Form and do not have accompanying impact tools. Units and conversions are explained in this document.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY PLANNING TOOLS

RENEWABLE ENERGY PLANNING TOOLS



Seed Grant Application Frequently Asked Questions

ELIGIBILITY

How do we know if the technology we propose to implement is technically sound?

There are many potential ways of demonstrating that a technology is technically sound. These include but are not limited to: ready availability, well-demonstrated and documented effectiveness, testing by a qualified third party (such as Intertek or the National Renewable Energy Labs), recognized by a third party certification (such as Underwriter Laboratories). For example, eligible solar photovoltaic technologies will be SRCC (Solar Rating and Certification Corporation) certified. Eligible small wind technologies will have followed one of the SWCC pathways to certification as describer here: http://smallwindcertification.org/for-stakeholders/certification-pathways/. Should you have any questions about the viability of the technology you propose to use, please contact Lissa Pawlisch prior to starting a proposal at either pawl0048@umn.edu or 612-624-2293.
 

APPLICATION

Our project involves working in, or will be implemented in, more than one CERT region. Which region should I indicate on my application from?

If applying to multiple regions you must request the Multiple-Region Application Addendum form either Lissa Pawlisch or Joel Haskard as described in the Official RFP. You will indicate and provide information about each region in the Addendum.
 

Our project has several components to it (e.g., a solar heating project with community education). Under which component should I categorize my project? Is my potential funding restricted to that component? Under which component will it be evaluated?

If your project involves several components, you should indicate all relevant components in Section 4 of the CERTs Seed Grant Application Form. You should indicate all relevant energy focus aspects, as well as all relevant activities and impacts. CERT Steering Committees will consider all components of the project, and funding can be applied to labor related to any and all of those components.
 

Our project does not fit in any of the categories listed under the Energy Focus part of Section 4: Project Focus and Impact. How do I complete my application form?

The intent of the CERTs seed grant is to fund community energy projects focused on energy efficiency and/or renewable energy. CERTs does not expect the Energy Focus categories to cover all projects, and no project should be considered ineligible solely because it does not fit into one of the listed categories. If your project does not fit into any of the listed categories with the Energy Focus boxes, select “Other” under Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, or Additional Technologies. In the Project Activity and Impacts table, please complete any corresponding impacts for your project. If you have any questions, please contact CERTs at rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org.
 

What kind of documentation should I submit for my Project Activity and Impacts?

If you are implementing an energy efficiency or renewable energy project that will have measurable energy impacts, CERTs encourages you to estimate those energy impacts as part of your planning process. You may use the Project Impact Worksheets or Resources at http://rfp.mncerts.org or other calculators or resources available on the web. Some projects may also have a professional assessment of the project, and those numbers should be submitted. Attach any worksheets, calculators, assessment documents, or other documentation of measurement assumptions and outcomes with your application. You may also contact Alexis Troschinetz, CERTs Behavior Change and Metrics Coordinator, for additional assistance at 612-626-0455.
 

What is the difference between people involved and people reached?

People involved include those beyond your Project Team who were actively engaged in carrying out the project. (Reminder, Project Team includes those who led and /or were responsible for planning, organizing, and executing the project.) People reached include those who have learned about your project through information made publicly-available. Examples for how past seed grant recipients have reached people regarding their project include: attendees at presentations or community meetings, visitors to the public location where the project is on display, unique visitors to a web page with information about the project, number of students in the school where a project took place, number of community members who regularly attend a community center where a project took place, and readership of printed articles in newspapers, trade publications or academic journals.
 

APPLICATION BUDGET

What is the scope of the budget under “Other Funding Support”?

This budget should include any match or other dollars leveraged (cash or in-kind) that are going toward the completion of your project. Please list pending and secured funding sources. If the project is still seeking additional funding sources, please note those funding amounts in the budget table as “pending”.
 

What forms of documentation are needed to demonstrate my “Secure” contributions?

We will accept a variety of forms of documentation of “Secure” contributions. Examples of appropriate documentation could include a letter of awarded funding or a letter documenting donated materials, equipment and/or labor. This documentation should be submitted electronically with your application.
 

SUBMITTING APPLICATION & MATERIALS

Where, when, and how should I submit application materials?

Application materials need to be received by Monday, October 26th, 2015 at 4:00 pm at rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org. Please include your Region and Project Name in the subject line. Application materials include the CERT Seed Grant Application Form, any documentation to support project impacts, and any letters of support for secured match funding for the project. If you are applying for funding from multiple regions, you must also include the Multiple-Regions Application Addendum. You will receive confirmation within 1-2 business days of the receipt of your application.
 

FUNDING & ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

When will we receive funding for our work?

CERTs Seed Grants are paid on a reimbursement basis. Project may invoice for up to half of their seed grant funds by June 15th, 2016, after the work is completed. You must submit an Interim Report to receive payment. Final invoices may be submitted once project work is complete but no later than December 30, 2016 at 4:00pm. Final invoices will not be paid until Final Reports are reviewed and approved for completeness. If your project is completed before June 15th, you may submit the Final Report with the Final Invoice.
 

What can we use the CERTs Seed Grant dollars for?

CERTs Seed Grants cover labor costs only. Proposals to request CERTs funding to cover materials, fees, printing, or travel will need to be revised by the applicant to only include labor costs, thereby delaying the review process.
 

COMPLETION ISSUES

What if our project is funded, but we cannot complete our project on time?

If you are having difficulty completing your project, we ask that you contact CERT Staff immediately. You can always contact us via the rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org email. Maggie Kozak is the primary point of contact for any contracting questions and would be glad to discuss an issue with you over the phone. Her phone number is 612-626-0555. Please know that while we want to work with all funded projects to help ensure their completion, if you are truly unable to complete your project, our intent is to put the money toward a project that can be completed. We absolutely require that projects begin work before the interim reporting date of June 15, 2016. If a project has not begun work the funding will be revoked and reallocated to another project. This is not to penalize projects that cannot move forward, but rather to ensure that we’re able to catalyze local projects with these dollars.

 

My project has changed from our original project proposal that I submitted. May I still use the funds granted in the seed grant?

Maybe. Please notify rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org of the change as soon as possible. It will depend on the changes and circumstances. In the Southwest region, the change in scope needs Steering Committee approval.
 

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS

I have a question that has not been addressed above in this FAQ. What do I do?

If you have a question that has not been addressed by this FAQ, please email your question directly to rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org and we will try to respond within 3-5 business days.
 

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