Photo from Chicago Lakes Middle School—Project Independence Solar PV from the 2010 round of Metro CERT seed grants

The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) have released the request for proposals (RFP) for the 2020 round of seed grants to catalyze clean energy projects all over the state of Minnesota. The seed grant funding aims to accomplish these primary objectives:

  • Encourage community-based clean energy projects
  • Spur projects that are highly visible and replicable
  • Provide a forum for community education

CERTs seeks proposals for seed grant funds for the labor costs of energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects in Minnesota. Each CERTs region has preferences/priorities and a separate review committee made up of experts and representatives from that region.

Applications are due on October 11, 2019. Learn more and download the complete RFP at:

The Metro region of CERTs is facilitated by the Great Plains Institute and covers the 11-county metro area. The priorities as set by the Metro CERT steering committee for the 2020 round of grants include:

  • Scaleable/replicable projects
  • High-energy consumption consumers (i.e., restaurants/small business) with projects that go beyond lighting
  • Outreach to connect underserved/under-resourced (defined broadly) residential communities on energy efficiency resources
  • Preference for outer ring counties (Isanti, Sherburne, Wright, Carver, Anoka, and Scott)

Projects range from feasibility studies to full-blown installations of solar panels, high-efficiency equipment and more recently, electric vehicle charging stations. The funding is for labor only (it cannot be used for equipment), which provides work in clean energy and an economic boost in our communities.

Recently, steering committee member Eric Wojchik, who is a Senior Planner at the Metropolitan Council, said about the application review process:

“As a member of the Metro CERT steering committee, I always learn more about community clean energy opportunities and challenges through the review of the seed grants. I am also able to grasp emerging trends and needs of communities through this process, as the committee learns where the funding gaps exist and how best to address these.”

The CERTs seed grants have a track record of catalyzing community-based clean energy projects in Minnesota since 2006, awarding $1,2 million to 355 projects over time. For example, the Metro region’s first round of seed grants funded the Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative community group to help with labor to install the Zephyr Wind Project at the Mahtomedi High School. I was recently in the area (my niece and nephew now go to school there, a pure coincidence) and took this short video of the wind turbine generating energy.

You can read about past funded projects and see a map of all projects funded since 2006:

Learn more and apply for a seed grant to catalyze a clean energy project in your Minnesota community: 

Please share this with others in your networks or communities you think may be interested.

Pictured in photo: Chicago Lakes Middle School—Project Independence Solar PV from the 2010 round of Metro CERT seed grants.


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