Minnesota Solar Congress

Join us for the 1st Annual Minnesota Solar Congress!

 Saturday, July 21
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
University of Minnesota-Morris: West Central Research & Outreach Center
46352 State Highway 329
Morris, MN 56267

Click here to RSVP

The Minnesota Solar Congress is a free public conference that brings together solar supporters from across the state. It’s an opportunity to learn, share stories, and celebrate solar energy in Minnesota. Our first annual event will focus on solar opportunities in rural communities, for farms, businesses, and homes. The day will include a series of presentations about solar technology, including solar 101, the economics of solar for farmers, solar + battery storage, the state of solar in Minnesota, and much more! The event will conclude with a tour of the innovative clean energy projects at the West Central Research and Outreach Center.

Lunch will be provided for all attendees!

This event is FREE and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend! Whether you are a solar owner, completely new to solar, or somewhere in between – this event is for you!


10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Doors open, registration

11 am – 11:20 am – Opening Remarks
Virginia Rutter, Program Director, Solar United Neighbors of Minnesota

11:30 am – 12:15 pm

– 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

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm – Lunch, informal networking (lunch will be provided)
– 12:45 p.m. – State of Solar in Minnesota – brown bag
Join us for a brief presentation over lunch about how the solar landscape has developed in Minnesota in recent years.
Virginia Rutter

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

– 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)

2:15 pm – 3:00 pm

– Solar Farmer Panel Discussion
Learn why these farmers chose to integrate solar energy into their farms and each of 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

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Guided Tour of West Central Research & Outreach Center’s solar projects

Help us spread the word about the Minnesota Solar Congress! Download our flyer and share with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

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



Please feel encouraged to share this event with friends, neighbors, colleagues, or community organizations who may be interested! Download the flyer for the event to print out or send digitally here.

Interested in volunteering at the Solar Congress? Email Carra Cheslin at: getinvolved@solarunitedneighbors.org.

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