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.

National Solar Tour

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. 

Lakeland PBS CEO Bill Sanford gives tour of building

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 Solar Celebration on October 4, 2018

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 evening in Canby

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.

Hill Vue Farm in Rushford upgrades solar to cover energy needs

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.

PACE counties and stories

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.

Testing at a wastewater treatment facility

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.

The state of Minnesota recently installed solar panels on the roof of a legislative office building.

There are great incentives for multifamily building owners—and their tenants—to make energy efficiency improvements. Just ask Grant Hartley, building manager and co-owner of Diamond Pointe Apartments in South Minneapolis.

“With the change-out to LEDs and other energy-saving measures, tenants may only see savings of $2-3 a month on their electric bills.

Diamond Pointe Apartments in South Minneapolis

Over 30 people met in Warren, Minnesota, (pop. 1,563) on the morning of Thursday, June 28, 2018, to learn how the city has advanced its local economy with energy efficiency and renewable energy, while saving the city on its bottom line. The event was hosted by Northwest Clean Energy Resource Team (NW CERT), the City of Warren, and Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC).

Bus tour of Warren, MN clean energy projects

On July 5, the MPCA released a request for proposal (RFP) for electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations using Volkswagen settlement funds. The purpose of the grant is to reduce air pollution by expanding access to EV charging across the state.

The RFP makes available approximately $1.4 million to install fast-charging stations along designated highway corridors around Minnesota.

EV fast charger grant dollars available in MN

The Clean Energy Resource Teams are pleased to welcome Joel Anastasio as our new Coordinator for the Northwest Region. Based in Bemidji, Joel is already very engaged in local energy work, and his mix of education, connections, and experiences will help him have a great impact across the region.

Joel Anastasio, Northwest CERT Coordinator

The Clean Energy Resource Teams are pleased to welcome David Abazs as our new Coordinator for the Northeast Region. David has a deep background with both renewable energy and CERTs, and we couldn’t be more excited to introduce him to you! We asked David to share a little bit about himself, his background, and what he’s looking forward to with CERTs.

David Abazs, Northeast CERT Coordinator

The Clean Energy Resource Teams are a proud partner of the 4th annual Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 Awards program that seeks to highlight emerging leaders throughout the region who work to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy.

The program is open to all who are under 40 at the time of their nomination.

40 Under 40 from Midwest Energy News

Across Minnesota, organizations from every industry are finding innovative ways to advance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability practices in their day-to-day operations. In an effort to recognize and share these efforts, the first annual American Green Energy Summit, AGES for short, is being held this October in the Twin Cities.

American Green Energy Summit

A small business with an aging building can benefit immensely from energy efficiency upgrades, benefits such as reduced utility bills, improved building aesthetics and increased building life. However, these upgrades can be financially cumbersome to small businesses that often operate on smaller margins.

Itasca County Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Electricity to the Minnesota Capitol complex is getting greener with the activation of the first phase of a large new solar array on the roof of the Minnesota Senate Building (MSB). The project, overseen by the Minnesota Department of Administration, was formally opened last month with a ribbon-cutting.

Solar ribbon cutting at the MN Capitol

A very warm welcome to Janvi Trivedi, Metro CERT’s intern from Yale this summer. We asked Janvi to share little more about herself and what she’s most looking forward to this summer. “First and foremost, I’m so excited to join the Metro CERT team and Great Plains Institute for a summer of clean energy and sustainable programming initiatives!” Janvi shared.

Janvi Trivedi

The Metro region, like all the CERTs regions, is guided by a steering committee. The steering committee is made up of people with affiliations from communities, environmental organizations, utilities, state and local governments, academia and business.

Metro CERT Region

Although Minnesota communities share a common belief of how important a healthy environment is to both our economy and lifestyle, there are many ways of putting that value into action. Finding ways to engage local businesses and residents to make a contribution toward a clean energy plan is an approach that works.

Xcel Energy Partners In Energy Program

After a snowstorm delayed plans, five staff from the City of Winona and Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) set out in March for the first Business Blitz in downtown Winona.

The blitz involved walking door-to-door in downtown Winona to speak with small and medium sized businesses about reducing energy use and saving money on their energy bills.

Business Blitzers (left to right): John Howard, City of Winona; Chris Meyer, SE CERT coordinator; Sadie Neuman, City of Winona; Alexis Troschinetz, CERTs; Joel Haskard, CERTs

We had a great response rate to the second annual survey of cities and tribal nations in the Minnesota GreenStep program. The number of cities and tribal nations responding to the survey improved four points over the inaugural survey.

Minnesota GreenStep Cities survey results

Over 500 Minnesotans attended the seventh statewide CERTs Conference, connecting to build a clean energy future in their communities! March 28-29 were two truly energizing days in St. Cloud, MN for the 2018 CERTs Conference. Communities, organizations, and individuals showed up to figure out how they can get projects done, save money, and be part of Minnesota’s fastest growing jobs sector.

Photos from the 2018 CERTs Conference

Seven Minnesota communities are recipients of the 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The awards were presented March 28, 2018 at the CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference in St. Cloud.

Seven communities won 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards

Recent publications point out that clean energy and schools might be the best combination since the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich made it into a school lunchbox!

But seriously, utility spending in our nation’s schools is no laughing matter. According to the blog Meeting of the Minds, schools spend over $8 billion annually on energy, more than textbooks and computers combined.

School solar installation in Minnesota | Photo by IPS Solar