Rural Minnesota Solar Initiative
The Rural Minnesota Solar Initiative is a resource to help farmers and small business owners learn more about how solar can work for them, and provide the needed assistance to catalyze projects.
Minnesota is a great place for solar energy, with more annual solar energy potential than Houston, TX and nearly as much as Miami, FL! There are already more than 850 solar installations in Minnesota, with new projects harnessing the sun each week.
Want to learn more about solar and get started? Here’s what you can do:
- Explore model projects for farms & businesses
- Download guides and factsheets
- Find local installers
- Learn about Minnesota solar manufacturers
- Funding, incentives, and other resources
- Chat with someone at CERTs
Solar Thermal Hot Water for Laundromats or Commercial Laundries
In 2007 Rebecca Spengler decided to revamp an existing laundromat in Ely, Minnesota. She opened A Laundry Room Inc. that June, worked to make the building and her operations as energy efficient as possible, and then installed five solar thermal hot water collectors manufactured in Alexandria, MN by SolarSkies. The system, which helps supplement the existing propane system, includes two 120 gallon tanks and can heat water up to 120 degrees.
Find out how your laundromat or commercial laundromat can benefit from a solar hot water system with the resources below!
- Read a case study about this project
- See a presentation about the project by owner Rebecca Spengler
- Video about the project: Ely in the Balance
Solar Thermal Hot Water for Dairy Operations of All Sizes
Dairy farmers are an industrious group by nature, and farmer and entrepreneur Peter Reese of Goodhue County has eyes for common sense and untapped opportunities. The basic concept of Perpetual Harvest, LLC, came from Peter’s thoughts about how our economy is under-utilizing available and renewable local resources. Solar thermal water heating was a clear best option for the Reese Farm Dairy Farm, and in the resources below Peter details exactly how he made it happen.
Find out how your dairy farm can benefit from a solar hot water system with the resources below!
Solar Thermal Air Heat for High Tunnel Season Extension
Dallas Flynn and his wife raise vegetables and shiitake mushrooms on a small farm just south of Frazee that they sell at a nearby farmer’s market. They are now using solar thermal air heat collectors to heat the soil and extend the growing season in high tunnel vegetable production. Read the case study and the presentation below to learn more about how this approach can work for you.
Find out how your vegetable-growing operation can benefit from solar air heating!
- Read a case study about the Flynn’s solar high tunnel operation
- Download a presentation about the project
- Learn about other solar applications for greenhouses in Minnesota
Rural Minnesota Solar Initiative Factsheet
|The Rural Minnesota Solar Initiative is a resource to help farmers and small business owners learn more about how solar can work for them, and provide the needed assistance to catalyze projects. This factsheet covers the basics of the program, highlights best practice projects from around Minnesota, and lets you know how you can take action. Download|
Solar-Powered Water Pumps & Electric Fences Factsheet
|Electric fencing can be powered by solar photovoltaic energy, perfect for temporary, portable, or remote applications. Solar photovoltaic-powered water pumps are a versatile and cost-effective way for you to provide water remotely. Download this factsheet to learn more about both technologies and how they could be utilized on your farm. Download|
Solar Air Heating & Water Heating Factsheet
|Solar air heat is often one of the most cost competitive solar technologies available in colder climates, and Solar water heating is up to 70% efficient in converting the sun’s energy into usable heat. Download this factsheet to learn more about both technologies and how they could be utilized on your farm. Download|
Simple Steps to Solar Factsheet
|When you’re interested in planning a solar energy project, knowing the basic steps can take a lot of the confusion out of the process. This factsheet walks you through six steps to planning a farm or business solar project: (1) Get educated, (2) Start planning, (3) Seek advice, (4) Get bids, (5) Install solar, and (6) Tell your story. Get started today! Download|
Rural Energy for American Program Factsheet
|USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program provides assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for a wide variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, including solar PV and solar thermal projects. This factsheet offers tips from an experienced REAP grant writer and USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator about how to create winning applications. Download|
Solar Energy Systems for Small Commercial Businesses
This document describes the basic process for businesses to assess opportunities and barriers to making solar energy investments and how to move forward with installing a solar energy system. The document outlines the following steps: (1) Understand your options; (2) Assess of your solar resource; (3) Assess your building; (4) Bidding and installing your solar energy system. Author: Brian Ross, CR Planning, Inc. Download
Solar Thermal Hot Water Collectors
9549 Penn Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55431
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels
Now is a great time to add solar to your farm or business! The Clean Energy Project Builder will allow you to research and find solar installers near you that can help you with your projects. Visit the website now >>
Federal funding and incentives:
Solar incentives from Minnesota utilities:
- Austin Utilities
- Brainerd Public Utilities
- Minnesota Power
- Marshall Municipal Utilities
- Moorhead Public Service Utility
- New Ulm Public Utilities
- Owatonna Public Utilities
- Rochester Public Utilities
- Xcel Energy
Organizations and programs of note:
- Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
- MN Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
- Clean Energy Project Builder
- Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association
Know of anything we’re missing? Email Joel Haskard to let us know.
Are you a business owner or farmer interested in one-on-one follow up regarding solar? Please contact Joel Haskard, CERTs Co-Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-625-8759.