Solar Energy Technology Resources

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This page starts out by showing you the most recent content from across the CERTs website. Jump to detailed resources.

Solar energy can be used to generate electricity, to provide hot water, and to heat, cool, and light buildings. Believe it or not, Minnesota has the same solar potential as Tallahassee, FL and Houston, TX!

Community Solar Gardens are centrally-located solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity to participating subscribers. Could it work for you?
Click here to learn more.

Solar Energy Blog Posts

Erin Smith
Lissa Pawlisch
Thu, 10/02/2014 - 11:58am
CERTs is excited to announce our newest staff member, Erin Smith, who started this summer as our West Central CERT Coordinator! We realize we...
Community Solar survey
Lissa Pawlisch
Fri, 09/19/2014 - 4:08pm
You might remember seeing a survey in February asking a few questions about Community Solar Gardens (CSGs). CSGs are a way for Minnesotans to...
Touring solar installations at Carleton College before learning about community solar opportunities
Michelle Palm
Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:58am
Minnesotans came together at Carleton College’s Weitz Center in Northfield on Thursday, August 21st to learn about community solar gardens and three...

Solar Energy Case Studies

The story of Noah and the Ark, a man building a gigantic boat in preparation for a flood that no one else believed was coming, is familiar to most....
High tunnels (also commonly referred to as polytunnels, hoop greenhouses, or hoophouses) are large, generally semi-circle-shaped structures made of...
If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, Chuck Waibel and Carol Ford should be blushing. In the fall and winter of 2012 in Ashby,...
Solar Energy

Funding & Financing Opportunities

Funding & Financing Opportunities
There are various opportunities for funding and financing any clean energy project. CERTs offers a list of funding opportunities currently available in the fields of energy and the environment. Start exploring now! Learn more

Planning your own projects?

Check out project planning resources
The success of any clean energy project depends on how you plan and utilize community, organizational, and financial resources. This is a place for you and your community members to learn from what others have done and strategize about how to accomplish your own clean energy project goals. Learn more.

CERTs Supported Projects

See CERTs-supported projects
CERTs awards Seed Grants to community groups for energy efficiency and clean energy projects and we’re currently accepting applications! See projects or learn more about grants.

Find Companies

Find companies with the Clean Energy Project Builder
The Clean Energy Project Builder is an online directory that will help you find companies to help you plan, implement, and manage your clean energy projects. It’s also a great place to just learn more about companies serving the solar and wind energy industries in Minnesota. You can even save a portfolio of folks to follow up with! Check it out

Solar Energy Experts

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES)
Website, Email, 612-308-4757

Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA)
Website, Email, 651-331-0919

Detailed Solar Energy Resources

General Information

Solar Power FAQCERTs

Solar Energy BasicsUS DOE EERE
A good place for other basic information about solar—covers photovoltaics, solar heating, and solar lighting.

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
MRES is a member-run non-profit in Minneapolis that promotes the use of and advocacy for renewable energies in Minnesota through education and demonstration of practical applications. MRES is involved with education, awareness, and advocacy efforts for all forms of renewable energy technologies, with a particular emphasis on solar energy technologies.
 
 

Publications

Creating and Implementing Your Community Solar PlanCERTs
Overview of community solar project decision-making process and action steps to involve community members, while also strengthening the relationships and the mission of your organization or group.

Small Solar Electric Systems: A MN GuideMinnesota Department of Commerce
More and more Minnesotans are asking if they can use solar energy to power their homes. You’ll find some of the answers here.

Simple Steps to Solar Factsheet – ResidentialClean Energy Resource Teams
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 residential solar project: (1) Get educated, (2) Start planning, (3) Get bids, (4) Sign contract, (5) Install solar, and (6) Share your success. Get started today!

Simple Steps to Solar Factsheet – Business & FarmClean Energy Resource Teams
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!

Rural Minnesota Solar Initiative FactsheetClean Energy Resource Teams
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.

Solar-Powered Water Pumps & Electric Fences FactsheetClean Energy Resource Teams
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.

Consumer Guide to Solar SystemsMinnesota Department of Commerce
Since the Minnesota Solar Rebate Program began in June 2002, electricity consumers in Minnesota are showing increased interest in solar electric systems for homes and businesses. This booklet guides consumers through questions, options, and the process of buying a solar electric system. Solar electric systems, also known as photovoltaic systems, are reliable, pollution free and use a renewable source of energy—the sun.

A Consumer’s Guide to Buying a Solar Electric SystemNational Renewable Energy Laboratory
This document covers pros and cons of investing in a PV system, how to pick an installer, how to fulfill permit requirements, how to get a net metering agreement, and other topics.

Solar Energy Systems for Small Commercial BusinessesBrian Ross, CR Planning, Inc.
Small commercial businesses in Minnesota frequently have both interest in and opportunity to invest in solar energy. 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.

Community Solar – A New Model for Local Ownership?Institute for Local Self Reliance
This report examines nine community solar projects, what’s made them possible, and barriers that remain. The importance of community solar and its potential future role in expanding solar power ownership is underscored by data on solar PV potential, showing that while nearly every state could get 20% of its power from rooftop solar alone, only a quarter of residential rooftops are suitable for solar PV. Furthermore, one-third of Americans are renters, typically unable to put solar PV on their landlord’s roof. Community solar can provide a solution, allowing any person to invest in a rooftop solar PV system located on a neighborhood building and share the clean energy and financial benefits.

Renewable Energy and Schools: A Step-by-Step GuideMinnesota Renewable Energy Society
This guide provides a step-by-step approach to help navigate the sometimes obscure process of creating a successful renewable energy project that meets the school’s educational, sustainability, fiscal and environmental goals. The guide lays out a general process, but also provides examples of details and technical information, as well as educational, financial, and technical resources available to schools.
 
 

Policies & Incentives

DSIRE: Minnesota Incentives for Renewable EnergyNorth Carolina Solar Center & IREC
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is a clearinghouse for state policies related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Their database is organized by state and can be searched by technology.

Federal funding and incentives:

Solar incentives from Minnesota utilities:

Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Report: 2002-2008Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (April 2009)
Report summarizing both Phase I and Phase II of the Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program. Minnesota achieved a milestone of more than one megawatt of total solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2008. The Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program offered financial assistance for most of this development, along with federal incentives.

 
 

Companies & Consultants

Clean Energy Project Builder
The Clean Energy Project Builder connects you with the clean energy industry by helping you find companies that can work with you to plan, implement, and manage clean energy projects. The Clean Energy Project Builder directory allows you to browse companies; to search by specific technologies like wind and solar or services like engineering, operations & maintenance, or legal services; to find companies near you using geographic search; and to find companies through a range of other details like service area, company age, or completed project capacity. Once you have found companies that you want to follow up with you can create a portfolio that allows you to tag them, organize them, and export your lists to a PDF. Compiling a list of qualified companies for your request for proposals just got a whole lot easier! It is also easy and free to add your company to the Clean Energy Project Builder directory.

Hiring a Renewable Energy InstallerMinnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
This document lists a number of questions that you should ask a renewable energy installer before you hire them—a very handy resource to ensure that you’re vetting potential companies appropriately.