Solar & Wind News

By Brian Ross    July 27th, 2016
This was reposted with permission from the original blog on the Great Plains Institute website. The Great Plains Institute, one of the CERTs partner organizations, is working with communities across the Midwest to develop local solar resources and capture the economic and environmental value of solar energy. The rooftop “solar reserve” of Midwestern cities (the solar equivalent of oil and gas “reserves”) is a vast and largely untapped local energy resource. Rooftop solar resources could, with current technology, generate an equivalent of 25-70% of the total local annual electric use in... Continue reading
By Lissa Pawlisch    July 25th, 2016
Community Solar Gardens can be an excellent opportunity for cities, counties, and other local governments to get involved in solar energy and engage community members. Some have already taken action, but many are still wondering whether or not a subscription is the right fit for their local government. To answer their questions, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) staff ran a webinar to provide an overview of community solar and then dig into the details that can help local governments make decisions.   Webinar Recording   Click play below to watch the webinar, and... Continue reading
By Alexis Troschinetz    July 19th, 2016
USDA Rural Development offers an array of programs to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural Minnesota. A new Program Summary guide offers an overview of all programs—it’s a must-read resource for learning about how your goals and projects could be supported. What exactly does USDA Rural Development do in Minnesota? Offer loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure. Promote economic development... Continue reading
By Annette Fiedler    July 14th, 2016
With energy costs on the rise and the cost of solar PV coming down, farmers like Jim Jorgenson of Westbrook, MN are cashing in on renewable energy. This spring, Jorgenson added a 30kW solar array to the 10kW wind turbine he installed a couple years back. With a cash grant from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and a 30% Federal Tax Credit, the solar installer estimates that the solar array—which was made in the USA and has a 25 year warranty—will payback in just under four years. Learn more about the project in an article from the Sentinel Tribune in... Continue reading
By Dan Thiede    July 13th, 2016
More than 80 people gathered in Minneapolis last month for the last of four regional workshops on community solar sponsored by the Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership. A major thrust of DOE’s outreach efforts is to engage solar developers, clean energy advocates and policymakers on community solar issues, while also providing a forum for developers to share best practices and strategies for bringing solar to millions of Americans who lack the ability or means to install systems on their own rooftops. Among the core demographic groups embracing community solar,... Continue reading
By Fritz Ebinger    June 27th, 2016
Things are in bloom all over Minnesota right now, including solar energy, and more and more solar installations across the state will be supporting the creatures that pollinate our plants. Gov. Dayton recently signed the Solar Sanctuaries Act into law on May 31, 2016. The Solar Sanctuaries Act establishes voluntary native vegetation and habitat management practices for solar developers and local governments alike to maximize habitat creation for birds, pollinators, and other small wildlife. The new law serves to verify claims that commercial solar installations are helping to create... Continue reading

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