Renewable News | July 2017

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Renewable News | July 2017

State Fair Preview

Home Energy Exhibit to highlight solar-powered electric vehicles, smart home, LEDs, energy efficiency, renewables

state fair 2017

Learn about electric vehicles and how to power them with solar energy. Discover several ways to get solar energy. See how the Nest Thermostat and other smart home devices provide convenience and energy savings. Learn how efficient LED lighting can satisfy all your lighting needs. Get guidance on how to make your home more energy efficient. Receive a free Home Energy Guide. Learn about Zero Net Energy Homes.

These are just a few features of the Home Energy Exhibit at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair, August 24-Sept. 4. The exhibit, part of the Eco Experience on the north end of the fairgrounds, will highlight many ways homeowners can make smart energy decisions and improve the efficiency, comfort, and safety of their homes. It is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources in collaboration with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  Read more.

Stacy Miller

Solar News

Stacy Miller to receive Ralph Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award at MnSEIA's Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference

Stacy Miller, solar policy specialist for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, will receive the fourth-annual Ralph Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award on Nov. 15 at the Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference, according to the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA). The award is in honor of Ralph Jacobson, a solar pioneer of Minnesota, and recognizes an individual who has helped advance the solar industry in Minnesota. “Stacy is a nationally recognized solar policy expert with a unique combination of technical, policy, and business knowledge gained through 15 years of experience in various aspects of the solar industry,” says MnSEIA. “She has co-developed and promoted strategic plans leading to solar market transformation in pursuit of federal, state, and local clean energy policy goals.” Read more. (Photo: Stacy Miller)

Minnesota adds 132 MW of solar in 2nd quarter, exceeds 500 MW 

Minnesota's solar capacity increased by 132 MWDC in the second quarter of 2017 and now exceeds 500 MW of total capacity, according to preliminary figures compiled by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. In the first half of 2017, Minnesota solar capacity increased by 259 MW, more than doubling the total capacity at the end of 2016, which was 246 MW. The second quarter gains came mainly from the Aurora Distributed Solar project, which completed 105 MWDC (91.5 MWAC) at 14 sites. Developers added 18 MWDC (16 MWAC) of solar at three sites for Xcel’s Solar*Rewards Community program, the Lemond Solar Center for the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency in Owatonna added ­­­6.6 MWDC (5 MWAC), and newly-installed rooftop solar PV installations supported by the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program added 1.075 MWDC (0.936 MWAC) at 67 sites. (Projects typically have an AC:DC derate ratio of 0.87.) About 300 more MW of solar is expected before 2017 ends, which will put Minnesota over the 800 MW mark.

2017 2nd q chart

The solar industry discusses solar photovoltaic capacity in direct-current megawatts, because solar panels produce DC power. Solar projects typically have an AC:DC derate ratio of 0.87.

Electric Vehicles

Midwest EVOLVE promotes electric vehicles in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of seven states to benefit from Midwest EVOLVE, a three-year project to promote electric vehicles (EVs) in the Midwest. Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience) was launched by the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and is a partnership with eight Clean Cities coalitions. It demonstrates the performance and environmental benefits of plug-in EVs through showcases, ride and drives, and events in communities throughout the seven-state region. Two upcoming events facilitated by the Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition in Minnesota include: an EV ride and drive for Xcel Energy employees on Sept. 1 in Minneapolis and an exhibit at the Twin Cities Auto Show on March 10-18, 2018 in Minneapolis showcasing the latest technology of EVs and examples of how and where to charge EVs. Learn more at the EVOLVE website.

Wind News

Southern Minnesota Municipal Power to get 100 MW of wind power

EDF Renewable Energy has signed an agreement to supply Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency with 100 megawatts of wind energy from the Stoneray Wind Project in Minnesota beginning in 2020. Construction is expected to commence in early 2018 with an anticipated commercial operation date of December 2018. Stoneray Wind Project, located in Pipestone and Murray counties in southwestern Minnesota, will be composed of up to 50 wind turbine generators. The project was made possible due to grid transmission expansion. The project is expected to provide 150-plus construction jobs and 10 long-term, full-time positions as well as millions of dollars in ongoing economic benefits to the local area through tax revenue generated by the projects. Read more.

Clean Energy News

Midwest Energy Storage Summit is Sept. 15 at U of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, in partnership with the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance, will host the Midwest Energy Storage Summit on Friday, September 15, 2017, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Summit will include over 300 participants from throughout the Midwest representing energy leaders from industry, the public sector, academia and nonprofit sectors. The goal of the Summit is to gather energy stakeholders and reach a shared understanding of energy storage trends, opportunities, and barriers in our region and nationally. The Summit will run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be followed by a networking reception from 4-6 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Campus Club. The event is open to the public but space is limited so register today. For details and registration fees, read more.

Bemidji is first city to achieve energy efficiency upgrades with GESP

The City of Bemidji used an Energy Savings Performance Contract to upgrade eight city buildings, its wastewater treatment plant, and the city’s streetlights. It is the first local government entity to use the Minnesota Commerce Department's Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) to oversee its project, which focused on improving lighting, energy management controls, and mechanical systems. The project was completed in December 2016 and is expected to yield annual energy savings of 15% and cost savings of more than $126,000 per year. The project is being paid for over 20 years via energy savings, which are guaranteed by Honeywell, the project’s energy services company. A case study (pdf) details Bemidji’s energy upgrade. Read more about GESP.

Metro CERT 2017 Annual Resource & Networking Event is Sept. 13

The Metro CERT 2017 Annual Resource & Networking Event will be held on Sept. 13 at the University of St. Thomas Anderson Student Center in St. Paul. The event will celebrate 10 years of the Clean Energy Resource Team connecting communities to clean energy resources. The free event is a chance to make new connections with community members, local government staff, and professionals committed to renewable energy and energy efficiency while enjoying food and beverages. To register and for details, read more.

CERTs launches Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota program

In mid-July, the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) began its "Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota" program that will run through September 2019. A USDA Renewable Energy Development Assistance grant enables CERTs to offer custom project assistance and tools to farmers and rural small businesses interested in pursuing renewable energy projects. CERTs will also help individuals and businesses navigate the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and other funding mechanism processes. Fact sheets on solar, biomass, and small wind options are available. If you would like to discuss a potential project, email Fritz Ebinger or call him at 612-626-1028.


Renewable News is a newsletter that covers a range of renewable energy topics, including innovative initiatives in our state, technological advancements, financial incentives, trainings, and events. If you would like to change preferences for the newsletters you are currently subscribed to or if you want to unsubscribe, please use the links at the bottom of this page.