On Monday, October 7th, an inquisitive group gathered to learn more about the newly installed solar array in St. Charles, Minnesota. This 2 MW project is part of the 'Butter Solar' Portfolio solar development, owned and operated by BluEarth Renewables US and totaling 23 MWAC across 10 communities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. The event was hosted by Nick Koverman of the City of St. Charles along with project leads Eric Udelhofen of OneEnergy Renewables, Stanley Minnick of Organic Valley, and Chris Barnes of BluEarth Renewables.

butter solar

Phoebe Ward is a Minnesota GreenCorps Member who recently joined the statewide CERTs office in Saint Paul for her 11-month service term. Phoebe has a bachelor's degree in Global Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a master's degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of Wisconsin. Among other important work, Phoebe will be helping cities, counties, tribal nations, and schools identify and implement clean energy projects and share their stories. Welcome Phoebe!

Phoebe Ward

Jack Acomb joined the GPI team in early September as a program assistant intern with the Metro Clean Energy Resource Team (Metro CERT). In this position, Jack will work to support the Metro CERT’s 2020 seed grant selection process, as well as assisting with programs related to electric vehicle adoption and other clean energy initiatives.

Jack Acomb

267,893 people visited the Eco Experience at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair, and many of them had the opportunity to learn about the growing role of clean energy in our communities! CERTs staff talked to curious fairgoers all twelve days, sharing ideas about moving forward with energy efficiency, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and careers in the industry. We also hosted students fired up about solar on Fox 9 and KARE 11. The display was produced in partnership with The Power of Minnesota. Explore more from the great clean energy get together below!

growing clean energy display

Each year the Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC) awards at least one Program or Project of the Year. The SRDC Awards Committee met to discuss potential projects and recommended the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) for its continuous effort toward helping Minnesotans build and apply clean energy practices across the state.

CERTs awarded 2019 Program of the Year Award from Southwest Regional Development Commission

The Minnesota Metro Environment Commission Conference was held in Minneapolis on April 13th at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. The overall purpose of the event was to enable participants to meet, get to know each other, and learn from each other’s experience as members of commissions focused on environmental issues. Last year, only commission members from the metro area were invited. This year the event was expanded to Greater Minnesota commissions and included afternoon panels.

full room

Over 80 people attended “Pathways to Electric Vehicle (EV) Adoption” in Moorhead, MN on Wednesday, May 15th. The speakers and attendees gathered at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel were a mix of electric utility representatives, governmental staff and elected officials from the state, county and city level, businesses and economic development organizations, fleet managers, university educators and students, and EV owners and sustainability advocates.


The Clean Energy Resource Teams are a proud partner of the 5th 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. We are looking to showcase leaders from all sectors—including industry, government, regulatory, business, academia, non-profit and advocacy.

40 under 40

The Minnesota GreenCorps program is a statewide initiative, coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), to preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals. The program places AmeriCorps members with host organizations around the state to assist communities and local governments in addressing a variety of statewide needs. MPCA is seeking 44 full-time AmeriCorps members! Application deadline June 28, 2019!

GreenCorps 2018

Many farmers have been asking questions about installations of large-scale solar and wind energy developments on their land. The contracts and materials presented to them by developers contain several legal provisions to navigate. That’s why Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) and the St. Paul-based Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) have partnered to create the Farmers’ Guide to Solar and Wind Energy in Minnesota, a resource for farmers considering large-scale solar and wind installations on their land.


The MPCA requests proposals from businesses, nonprofits, local governments, and schools to install Level 2 and/or Level 3 EV charging stations at locations serving fleet vehicles. Awards are for up to $5,000 per single-station and $10,000 per dual-station.

elk river

The Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Division has developed a small grant program to promote clean energy education at the Energy Exhibit in the Eco Experience at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. The grants program is intended to encourage increased participation in educational initiatives that promote the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, address climate issues, and that empower, inspire, and motivate a new generation of energy leaders, of all ages and backgrounds, in communities around Minnesota. 12 grants of up to $2,500 each will be awarded and are designed to be used for expenses to plan, develop, and create Clean Energy Community educational messages, displays, and materials and to provide one day of staffing at the exhibit during the State Fair.

eco experience

On Saturday, February 9th, Minnesota’s clean energy economy—which last year provided 25% of the state’s electricity—was on the big screen at the Frozen River Film Festival in Winona, MN. While many people had driven past solar and wind energy systems around Winona and southern Minnesota, most had not heard the stories of the people behind these clean energy developments. The Power of Minnesota is a new Minnesota-made documentary featuring stories about the ways clean energy is driven by and supporting families, communities, schools, and businesses. Over 50 people came to watch the film, hear about local projects, find actions they could take, and connect with others.

Winona Power of MN Event

Minnesota utilities should be able to continue to meet or exceed their annual energy-savings goals over the next decade, according to the Minnesota Energy Efficiency Potential Study: 2020-2029prepared for the Minnesota Department of Commerce and released on Dec. 4.


This holiday season is an opportunity to pick out special gifts that your family will appreciate and that have the added bonus of delivering energy savings and a smaller carbon footprint. When you select appliances, electronics and lighting that carry the ENERGY STAR® label, you can trust that your gift meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

energy gifts

Minnesota’s clean energy progress is continuing at a strong pace! Overall, renewable energy generated 24.9% of the state’s electricity in 2017 compared to 8.4% in 2007, an increase of about 300% in the past decade, according to the most recent Minnesota Renewable Energy Update from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.


The Clean Energy Resource Teams are pleased to introduce Colby Abazs, who will now be taking the lead as the coordinator of our Northeast Region! Colby grew up in an off-grid home powered by solar and wind energy in Finland, MN. As a kid, the batteries had to be above 50 volts to be allowed to watch movies. This sparked his interest in energy production and usage at a young age, a passion that he has continued to pursue throughout life. While in college, Colby took on leadership roles in student governance on both the college and statewide levels, allowing him to expand his community engagement skills. He recently completed a ten month trip exploring cultures and communities around the world and is now settling into the family homestead in Finland, MN.

Colby Abazs

Juhl Energy, GE Renewable Energy, and Bank of America are partnering for what they call the first commercial, integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation project in the United States, according to articles in North American Windpower and Utility Dive.

ge hybrid wind solar

On November 27, over 140 people from the Red River Valley attended a film screening of the new documentary, The Power of Minnesota, that took take place at the Historic Fargo Theatre. Event highlights included a social with appetizers, presentations from local speakers, a screening of the documentary, and a community conversation to explore the Red River Valley’s clean energy developments. Read on to see all of the details!

Fargo Theatre

The U.S. Forest Service recently announced $8 million in grant funding available for applied research projects that expand wood product and wood energy markets and improve forest health. Applications for funding will be accepted through January 23, 2019. Eligible applicants include businesses; State, local, and Tribal governments; school districts; communities; non-profit organizations; institutions of higher education; and special purpose districts (e.g. public utility districts, fire districts, conservation districts and ports).

wood pellets

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.

Solar Video Contest

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

Sign up to stay in the loop!