CERTs Seed Grants

Catalyzing Grants for Communities

CERTs awards Seed Grants to community groups for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across Minnesota. We’ve awarded over $1.2M to 355 projects since 2006.

The map below includes all projects funded by CERTs. Choose on a map marker to learn more about individual projects, drag to move, and use the + and – buttons to zoom.

Seed Projects by Grant Year

2018 Grants
2016 Grants
2014 Grants
2012-2013 Grants
2012 Grants
2010 Grants
2008-2009 Grants
2008 Grants

Every two years, the Clean Energy Resource Teams seeks applications for limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.

Project funding can support technical assistance services (i.e., labor costs only, such as for a consultant, design professional, installer, or student labor) for projects in each of the seven Minnesota CERT regions.

Request for Proposals

Applications for the most recent round of CERTs Seed Grants were due on October 11, 2019. If you applied, expect to hear back from staff by mid December about whether or not your community effort received funding. The next Request for Proposals for CERTs Seed Grants will be released Summer-Fall 2021.

About Seed Grant Funding

Each region has its own pool of funding: $20,000 per region—available for technical assistance to catalyze community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Each regional team's Steering Committee will make its own selections and project funding levels will vary by region, though for all regions, these are considered seed grants and are not intended to fund a project in its entirety. Most projects have historically received funding for amounts between $2,000 and $5,000. In general there are more requests than funds available. 

Timeline

  • August 1, 2019 - RFP issued and applications being accepted
  • October 11, 2019 - Proposal deadline at 4pm
  • Early December 2019 - Funded projects and non-funded projects notified
  • December 13, 2019 - Contracting forms due for all regions except Southwest
  • December 20, 2019 - Contracting forms due for Southwest region
  • January 6, 2020 - Awards announced publically by CERTs and projects may begin work
  • June 19, 2020 - Project interim report and invoice due to CERTs by 4pm. Any project that has yet to begin project activities will have funding revoked (funds will be redirected to other project(s) in the region).
  • January 29, 2021 - Project must be completed and final report and invoice submitted to CERTs by 4pm
  • March–July 2021 - CERTs will work with Seed Grant recipients to develop project case studies
  • Summer–Fall 2021 - RFP issued and applications accepted for new round of CERTs seed grants

CERTs is no longer accepting applications, but you can download the RFP for details about eligibility, contract terms, and the review process and criteria.

Download OFFICIAL RFP

Video About CERTs Seed Grants

Documents for learning more about the Seed Grant opportunity and process

Seed Grant Press Release
Language Ready to Go for Sharing
Seed Grant postcard for email
Seed Grant postcard for print

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many potential ways of demonstrating that a technology is technically sound. These include but are not limited to: ready availability, well-demonstrated and documented effectiveness, testing by a qualified third party (such as Intertek or the National Renewable Energy Labs), recognized by a third party certification (such as Underwriter Laboratories). For example, eligible solar photovoltaic technologies will be SRCC (Solar Rating & Certification Corporation) certified. Eligible small wind technologies will have followed one of the SWCCpathways to certification as describer here: http://smallwindcertification.org/for-stakeholders/certification-pathways/. Should you have any questions about the viability of the technology you propose to use, please contact Lissa Pawlisch prior to starting a proposal at either pawl0048@umn.edu or 612-624-2293.

If applying to multiple regions you must request the Multiple-Region Application Addendum from either Lissa Pawlisch or Joel Haskard as described in the Official RFP. You will indicate and provide information about each region in the Addendum.

If you are implementing a project that will have measurable energy impacts, CERTs encourages you to estimate those energy impacts as part of your planning process. If you have a professional assessment of the project, those documents or numbers should be submitted. Attach any worksheets, calculators, assessment documents, or other documentation of measurement assumptions and outcomes with your application. You may also contact Alexis Troschinetz, CERTs Behavioral Science and Evaluation Manager, for additional assistance at 612-626-0455.

People involved include members on your team who are actively engaged in executing the project or others who are participating in a major way with your project. People reached include those who have learned about your project through information made publicly-available. Examples for how past seed grant recipients have reached people regarding their project include: attendees at presentations or community meetings, visitors to the public location where the project is on display, unique visitors to a web page with information about the project, number of students in the school where a project took place, and number of community members who regularly attend a community center where a project took place. "People Reached" no longer includes readership of printed articles in newspapers, trade publications or academic journals.

This budget should include any match or other dollars leveraged (cash or in-kind) that are going toward the completion of your project. Please list pending and secured funding sources. If the project is still seeking additional funding sources, please note those funding amounts in the budget table as “pending”.

We will accept a variety of forms of documentation of “Secure” contributions. Examples of appropriate documentation could include a letter of awarded funding or a letter documenting donated materials, equipment and/or labor. This documentation should be submitted electronically with your application.

Application materials need to be received by Friday, October 11th, 2019 at 4:00 pm at rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org. Please include your Region and Project Name in the subject line. Application materials include the CERT Seed Grant Application Form, any documentation to support project impacts, and any letters of support for secured match funding for the project. If you are applying for funding from multiple regions, you must also include the Multiple-Regions Application Addendum. You will receive confirmation within 1-2 business days of the receipt of your application.

CERTs Seed Grants are paid on a reimbursement basis. Project may invoice for up to half of their seed grant funds by June 19th, 2020, after the work is completed. You must submit an Interim Report to receive payment. Final invoices may be submitted once project work is complete but no later than January 29, 2021 @ 4:00pm. Final invoices will not be paid until Final Reports are reviewed and approved for completeness. If your project is completed before June 19th, you may submit the Final Report with the Final Invoice.

For applicants for whom having a delay in payment would be burdensome, or would even discourage applying, please contact Lissa Pawlisch (at either pawl0048@umn.edu or 612-624-2293). We may provide advance payments for up to one third of the awarded seed grant amount for a limited number of projects. (No advance payments will be given for the Southwest CERT region.)

CERTs Seed Grants cover labor costs only. Proposals to request CERTs funding to cover materials, fees, printing, or travel will need to be revised by the applicant to only include labor costs, thereby delaying the review process.

If you are having difficulty completing your project, we ask that you contact CERT Staff immediately. You can always contact us via the rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org email. Maggie Kozak is the primary point of contact for any contracting questions and would be glad to discuss an issue with you over the phone. Her phone number is 612-626-0555. Please know that while we want to work with all funded projects to help ensure their completion, if you are truly unable to complete your project, our intent is to put the money toward a project that can be completed. We absolutely require that projects begin work before the interim reporting date of June 19, 2020. If a project has not begun work the funding will be revoked and reallocated to another project. This is not to penalize projects that cannot move forward, but rather to ensure that we’re able to catalyze local projects with these dollars.

Maybe. Please notify rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org of the change as soon as possible. It will depend on the changes and circumstances. In the Southwest region, the change in scope needs Steering Committee approval.

If you have a question that has not been addressed by this FAQ, please email your question directly to rfp@cleanenergyresourceteams.org and we will try to respond within 3-5 business days.