2018 Minnesota Solar Congress

In July, more than 40 solar supporters from across the state joined together for Minnesota’s first Solar Congress. The event was an opportunity for attendees to learn, share stories, and celebrate solar energy in the state. Hosted at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research & Outreach Center in Morris, the Solar Congress had a special focus on solar opportunities in rural communities, for farms, businesses, and homes. Click here to read more about the Congress, or scroll below for the day’s presentations and photos from the event.


Check back, as more presentations will be uploaded soon

Solar 101 information session
Learn the basics about solar PV technology and how to save money on your electric bills by going solar.
Virginia Rutter

– A federal government lab is looking under solar panels: Here’s why
Solar is booming in Minnesota and across the country, creating a vital opportunity to plant deep-rooted flowering plants and native grasses around and under ground-mounted solar installations. The practice of pollinator-friendly solar is already common in Europe, and Minnesota has emerged as a national leader in the US. Hear why the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and others are engaged in studying and promoting the approach.
Rob Davis, Director, Center for Pollinators in Energy, Fresh Energy

– State of Solar in Minnesota
Learnt how the solar landscape has developed in Minnesota in recent years.
Virginia Rutter

– Solar + Storage in the residential setting
Residential and small-scale commercial energy storage is becoming more common and affordable. Find out how battery storage works, what to consider if you’re thinking about investing in storage, and how it interacts with the energy produced from solar.
Emma Rodvien, Director of Forward Operations, Solar United Neighbors

– Financing for Farmers
The Clean Energy Resource Teams’ “Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota” campaign provides one-on-one assistance, financial modeling, and guidance through loan and grant application processes. This presentation will examine the physical integration of solar PV into the business or farm and the financial tools available to facilitate investment in solar. Broadly, it will explain how business and farmer interest in solar is related to goals of longevity and business success.
Fritz Ebinger, J.D., Rural Energy Development Program Manager for the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs)

– Video: Solar for farms and small businesses panel
Learn why these panelists chose to integrate solar energy into their business and their experiences going solar.
Jim VanDer Pol – pasture raised cattle and hogs
Richard Handeen – organic pasture raised beef
Doug Popp – conventional dairy and crop farm
Arlen Runia – automobile repair


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The 2018 Minnesota Solar Congress was hosted by Solar United Neighbors, in partnership with: