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Local government staff join tour of energy efficiency improvements at Mankato State University
Chris Meyer
11/20/2018 - 2:43pm
On Thursday, November 1st, Southeast Clean Energy Resource Teams (SE CERT) hosted a “Capturing Savings from Public Building Energy Efficiency: Benchmarking through Financing – Getting your Project Done” session at the Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Centennial Student Union. CERTs has worked for years to reinforce that the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use. Turns out that the 50 attendees at the event know that’s true and were enthusiastic to hear from the range of speakers about varying strategies for reducing the impact of energy costs on their bottom line.   Strategy 1: Energy Benchmarking!   Cheri Schneider of the Weidt Group kicked off the session with an introduction to the key elements of the Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond—B3—Benchmarking Tool. Cheri highlighted the different...
Minnesota Solar Video Contest
Dan Thiede
11/13/2018 - 2:01pm
For the last three years the Clean Energy Resource Teams have hosted a Minnesota Solar Video Contest at the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association’s Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference. We’ve been blown away by the creative, powerful, funny, and informative submission we get, and this year was no different! Keep reading to see who won this time around and watch their videos.   First Place Video: “Let’s Go Solar” by Fernando Saldivia and Alan Zheng, Students at Carleton College in Northfield Acceptance speech: “Renewable energy sources are among our most valuable and democratic allies at the moment as we face the challenges of global climate change. It is everybody’s mission to work our way toward a sustainable future. We would like to thank...
Map of Minnesota locations on the National Solar Tour
Bailey Atkinson
10/20/2018 - 2:58pm
Billed as “the largest grassroots solar, renewable energy, and sustainable living event in the nation,” the National Solar Tour is a collection of solar open houses and local solar tours around the country on October 6 & 7 in 2018. 725 homes across the country participated in 2018, with 45 participating homes and other sites right here in Minnesota. A CERTs member was able to visit a participating home in Falcon Heights. Roger Aiken gave a tour of the inside and outside of his home and was informative and ecstatic to be introducing household sustainable technology. On the roof, the Aiken’s have 15 solar panels that generate approximately 4.4 kW. “Each panel will produce about a kilowatt per hour,” noted Roger. “Whenever we make any excess, our energy provider buys off that extra energy and we can either pay...
Bill Sanford at Lakeland PBS leading a tour. Photo by Sarah Gazelka
Joel Anastasio
10/18/2018 - 4:43pm
Back to back clean energy events at Lakeland PBS on Thursday October 11th featured a tour of solar, geothermal, and energy efficiency projects, a screening of a new MN clean energy documentary, and local speakers.   Geeking out: Touring clean energy projects at Lakeland PBS in Bemidji   An afternoon event featured a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lakeland PBS facility, including their cost-saving solar, geothermal, and energy efficiency projects. Over 40 people from Bemidji and across the region attended the tour, with interests ranging from sustainability to economics, and from technology to community engagement. Bill Sanford, CEO and Director of Engineering at Lakeland PBS, led the tours and elaborated on their energy projects and how others could do the same. “We’re excited to be partnering with...
Chisago County Solar Celebration on October 4, 2018
Dan Thiede
10/05/2018 - 4:26pm
On Thursday, October 4, Chisago County took center stage at the Chisago Lakes High School Performing Arts Center in Lindstrom to celebrate the county’s role as the Solar Energy Capital of Minnesota. Solar in Chisago County: The 100MW North Star Solar installation in Chisago County is Minnesota’s largest, and produces enough electricity to power about 20,000 homes. Chisago County is also home to several community solar gardens and installations on area homes and businesses. This event, and The Power of Minnesota film, focused on telling the many stories of the people behind this enormous accomplishment. Event highlights: Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh Energy, kicked off the event with a talk about the country’s dramatic shift to a clean energy economy, and the role that Chisago County is playing. He spoke about the drastic price reductions in solar, wind, and battery...
The Power of Minnesota evening in Canby
Lissa Pawlisch
10/01/2018 - 4:56pm
On September 18th, over 100 people gathered at the Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Canby for the first official screening of The Power of Minnesota documentary. Pioneer Public Television also unveiled a segment of an upcoming Prairie Sportsman episode that features solar and pollinator habitat (and honey and beer and cider). The Power of Minnesota film is about people, their communities, and their stories about clean energy development around the state. Following the screenings, participants shared conversations with their neighbors about what they learned and what surprised them about the film. For example: people we shocked to learn that there are nearly 60,000 clean energy jobs in Minnesota! They shared their clean energy questions: for example, how do we get more youth engaged in the clean energy industry and careers?...
Hill Vue Farm in Rushford upgrades solar to cover energy needs
Kirsten Zoellner
09/26/2018 - 1:02pm
This article was republished from the original by Kirsten Zoellner with the Fillmore County Journal. With the costs related to farming on the rise, Rushford resident and farmer Jon Peterson is always on the lookout for ways to increase efficiencies and maintain sustainability efforts. This May, Peterson and his family installed a 37.5 kilowatt-generating solar array at Hill Vue Farm, their 800-acre organic farm. “This was really the only option we considered,” says Peterson. “I had thought about wind in the past, but decided on solar because of much less maintenance and cost.” The farm currently milks 65 cows, feeding out bull calves and replacement heifers, along with a herd of beef cattle and sheep. Specific energy drains on the farm including milk cooling, vacuum pump, ventilation fans, water heaters...
PACE counties and stories
Peter Lindstrom
09/21/2018 - 3:45pm
From the Greenway Office Building in Minneapolis to Timm’s Trucking in Morristown and from AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji to the First National Bank in Saint Paul, businesses are benefitting from solar and efficiency improvements with no up-front costs and streamlined payments through their property tax assessments. Updated map: 63 of Minnesota...
Testing at a wastewater treatment facility
Joel Haskard
09/21/2018 - 2:06pm
Effective wastewater treatment systems are critical infrastructure to manage waste effluent within hundreds of communities in Minnesota. The Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) is partnering with MPCA, MnTAP, City of St. Cloud and Met Council on a Wastewater Optimization Pilot Project (Pond and Mechanical). Optimization includes getting better results through existing infrastructure. The goal of the project is to provide assistance to comply with water quality standards without needing expensive new construction and increased nutrient removal and improved operational efficiencies. There is NO cost to participate in this project! Click here to learn more and apply >>   More case studies highlight energy efficiency at Minnesota wastewater treatment plants   Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) operate in...
The state of Minnesota recently installed solar panels on the roof of a legislative office building.
Frank Jossi
09/14/2018 - 9:57am
This article is reposted from the original by Frank Jossi in Midwest Energy News. Cities, school districts, and government agencies are using a shared contract to streamline the process of procuring solar power. The state of Minnesota and nearly a dozen other government entities will use a collaborative buying approach to build 4 megawatts of on-site solar. Called Solar Possible, the initiative used a master contract and a joint request for proposals to select vendors and gather pricing data. The Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of Enterprise Sustainability and two partner organizations developed the program. Participating school districts, government agencies and city...

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