University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
http://www.umn.edu/
612-625-5000
Energy Transition Lab

University of Minnesota Solar Development Roadmap

University of Minnesota Campus Development Roadmap

Solar energy provides Universities with the opportunities to expand experiential learning and research, diversity and increase the resiliency of campus infrastructure, engage alumni, donors and prospective students/faculty, advance sustainability goals, and enjoy monetary savings. In 2015, the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab created the SUN Delegation with guidance from MREA and Institute on the Environment. Between 2015 and 2017, the Delegation worked with University staff and faculty to identify pathways to invest in solar energy. These efforts were an instrumental catalyst in encouraging University decision makers to invest in solar. Since the SUN Delegation was formed in 2015 the University has taken the following steps to invest in solar:

Community Solar Gardens (CSG): In 2016, the University subscribed to two megawatts (MW) of solar power from a CSG developed by Geronimo Energy. This investment will save the University approximately $800,000 and offset ~55,300 metric tons of greenhouse gases over 25 years. In 2017, UMN subscribed to a total of 22.5 additional MW. The additional subscriptions are expected to produce 1,095,187,000 kWh of electricity and generate $35,661,070 in savings over 25 years.

On-Site Solar: Ameresco, Inc will install 2.255 MW of solar panels on the Twin Cities campus. The University’s new Bell Museum will also include several small educational solar arrays. Delegation students also developed a transportable solar testbed that students will be able to use on campus.

Duluth Campus Student Services Fee:  UMD students successfully petitioned and received $100,000 from the Duluth Campus Student Services Fee and another $50,000 from UMD’s Revolving Loan Fund. The funds will be used to install an 11kW PV array on campus in 2016.

Xcel Energy Renewable Connect: UMN recently signed up to participate in Xcel Energy’s program, which allows ratepayers to subscribe to energy produced from wind and solar.

The University recognizes this as a step forward towards sustainability and a wise financial investment.

Benefits of Solar

In addition these investments are expected to have a number of benefits over time:

Cost Savings:  Financial viability was a major factor that stakeholders at the University considered when deciding whether or not to invest in solar. The University expects to enjoy a positive ROI on solar investments. In addition, diversifying its energy portfolio allows the University to improve its resilience against foreseen and unforeseen energy price changes that may occur in the future.

Sustainability: Encouraging solar on campus has provided valuable opportunities to improve the University of Minnesota’s leadership in sustainability. The University of Minnesota recognizes climate change as one of the grand challenges humanity will have to overcome in the 21st century and is dedicated to research and is “driven to discover” new knowledge and solutions for the world. Renewable energy technology, combined with energy reduction strategies, have a huge potential to mitigate climate change without sacrificing our quality of life.

Educational Value: Solar arrays will advance research and education at the University. Data produced from a solar array and weather stations will allow researchers to create and enhance photovoltaic system models. The solar arrays would also allow educational site visits for classes and student groups across the University. In addition, this work has helped to make University of Minnesota a pioneer in university solar investment. For example, there are no case studies in existence of other universities who have a CSG subscription of more than one MW. The University of Minnesota is a pioneer in this endeavor.

Support for Research: Participation in the Solar Endowment program provided additional resources and legitimacy to students and faculty interested in solar. For example, students encouraged the University to consider opportunities for solar projects aimed at generating low carbon energy while providing valuable pollinator habitat. 

Positive Public Image: Solar investment will increase the visibility of the University’s position as a leading institution on clean energy and combating climate change. While efforts such as energy efficiency and the CHP project have also had a tremendous effect on the campus’ carbon emissions, the visibility of solar panels will help the University to demonstrate a public commitment to sustainability. This could potentially help the University recruit sustainability-minded students and donors.

The University of Minnesota Campus PV Development Roadmap describes the process that UMN students, faculty and staff undertook to investigate and invest in solar. The SUN Delegation compiled this roadmap to guide other higher education institutions considering a path to solar.

Read the Campus Roadmap
 

 

 

Don’t Miss These Upcoming Energy Transition Events!

July 20, 2017Megan ButlerEvents, UncategorizedComments Off on Don’t Miss These Upcoming Energy Transition Events!

Photo Credit: CERTS 

MREA Energy Fair                        St. Paul, Minnesota            Sept 9-10, 2017

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is hosting its first Energy Fair in St. Paul, Minnesota this September. The Energy Fair brings people together to learn about clean energy and sustainable and to connect with others. The fair provides fun for the whole family and will feature interactive workshops, exhibits, live music, local food, and inspiring keynote speakers. Exhibits will focus on sustainable living and clean energy products. Workshops will focus on sustainable living, energy efficiency, renewable energy and more! Click here to learn more about the Energy fair!


Midwest Energy Storage Summit   Minneapolis, Minnesota     Sept 15, 2017

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 non-profit sectors. The goal of the Midwest Energy Storage Summit is to gather energy stakeholders from a variety of sectors in order to reach a shared understanding of energy storage trends, opportunities, and barriers in our region and nationally.  We will connect Midwesterners to learn from each other and explore opportunities for regional cooperation. Click here to learn more about the Midwest Energy Storage Summit.

Register For the Summit Today


2017 OATI Energy Conference    Minneapolis, Minnesota    Sept 19-21, 2017

Energy Transition Lab Executive Director Ellen Anderson will be providing the keynote address at the SPARK 2017 OATI Energy Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Anderson will be speaking about grid modernization. Conference Attendees will learn about the evolving energy industry and have the opportunity to network with top leaders and professionals in the industry. Click here to learn more and register for the OATI Energy Conference

Energy Transition Lab at Energy Storage North America 2017

July 20, 2017Megan ButlerEvents, MESA, UncategorizedComments Off on Energy Transition Lab at Energy Storage North America 2017

Ellen Anderson Speaking at Energy Transition Lab’s Energy Storage Summit

Energy Transition Lab Executive Director Ellen Anderson will be speaking at Energy Storage North America (ENSA) about how Minnesota has worked to optimize existing transmission distribution and generation assets with storage.

Ellen Anderson will join Brian Burandt of Connexus Energy, Ed Burgess of Strategen Consulting, and Jessica Harrison of MISO for a discussion detailing Minnesota stakeholders’ efforts to evaluate the value of storage across grid generation, transmission, and distribution domains and jumpstart the local energy storage market. The presentation will review key model findings on the cost-benefits of storage to Minnesota’s grid, update attendees on energy storage RFPs, and detail next steps to engage in this emerging market.

Read more →

Midwest Energy Storage Summit 9-15-17: Video, Slides & More

The University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, in partnership with the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance, hosted the Midwest Energy Storage Summit on Friday, September 15, 2017, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Summit included over 300 participants from throughout the Midwest representing energy leaders from industry, the public sector, academia and non-profit sectors.

Thank you to all our participants and sponsors!

About the Midwest Energy Storage Summit

Our energy systems are undergoing a significant transition, and energy storage is linchpin for a more flexible, resilient, reliable, efficient, and low carbon grid.  Whether considering grid or distribution scale or customer applications, furthering deployment of storage in the Midwest will require an integrated, collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach, as well as a deep understanding of technology advancements and the market and regulatory environments.  

The goal of the Midwest Energy Storage Summit was to gather energy stakeholders from a variety of sectors in order to reach a shared understanding of energy storage trends, opportunities, and barriers in our region and nationally.  We connected Midwesterners to learn from each other and explore opportunities for regional cooperation.  Goals of the conference included:

  • Understanding MISO operations and rules relating to energy storage and current and future implications for the regional grid;
  • Learning about storage from different perspectives, including 
    • Policy and regulatory pathways,
    • The role of research in bringing technology to market, and
    • Implementation – how “doers” get projects off the ground; and
  • Capitalizing on networking and collaboration opportunities.

Click here for more information about Summit lodging and transportation 

Kilowatt Sponsors

Fresh Energy

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

PAR Energy Solutions

3M

Union of Concerned Scientists 

Supporting Partner: Midwestern Governors Association

Media Sponsor: Midwest Energy News

Become a Midwest Energy Storage Summit sponsor today! 

Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

June 23, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, MESA, UncategorizedComments Off on Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

MESA Logo

The Energy Transition Lab Invites You to Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

Register Today

You are invited to attend the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance– MESA’s first Hot Topic Brown Bag Lunch discussion on assessing the capacity value of Energy Storage. The discussion will focus on how to best assess the value of energy storage as it relates to capacity resource adequacy in Minnesota, how capacity planning and adequacy is conducted at both the MISO level and the distribution utility level, and approaches that have been used for renewable resources (wind/solar) that may be applicable to energy storage. Discussion leaders will include Rao Konidena (MISO), John Reinhart (MISO), Alan Gleckner (Fresh Energy), John Frederick (Energy Storage Consultant), and a representative from Xcel Energy.

This event is intended to be first in a series of Hot Topics on Storage, where energy enthusiasts can indulge their inner energy geek and engage in an in-depth, informal conversation with experts.

Time and Place: This event will be held from 11:30 to 1:30 on Monday, July 11 at the University of Minnesota Law School Room 50. The Law School, Mondale Hall, is at 229 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55455.

Getting here:  We are located near the West Bank light rail stop on the Green Line.  From the stop, go up the stairs/elevator to 19th Avenue, turn right, and walk to the nearest building on your right, which is Mondale Hall. The University of Minnesota Law School is located on several Metro Transit bus routes including routes 23 7 and 22 as well as the University of Minnesota’s Campus Connector. By car, parking in pay lots at Mondale Hall is available at a variety of locations on the U of M West Bank campus including: Surface Lot C86, north of Mondale Hall, the 19th Ave. Ramp and the 21st Ave. Ramp.  

This will be a brown bag lunch event. MESA will provide beverages and cookies but please bring your own lunch. Some suggestions for locations nearby to pickup a take out lunch include:

This event is free and open to all interested, so feel free to invite friends or colleagues

Register Today

Featured Image Photo Credit: Sandia Labs

 

The University of Minnesota SUN Delegation

December 22, 2015Megan ButlerFeatured, UncategorizedComments Off on The University of Minnesota SUN Delegation

Sun Delegation Students Presenting Campus RoadmapThe SUN Delegation is a program of the Solar Endowment project which is funded by the DOE Sunshot Initiative and managed by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. The University partners other than the University of Minnesota are: Purdue, University of Illinois and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. At the University of Minnesota the project is being led by the Energy Transition Lab with the guidance of the Institute on the Environment.

The University of Minnesota SUN Delegation is made up of the 52 students from Duluth and Twin Cities campuses. SUN Delegation students include both undergraduate and graduate students interested in encouraging the University of Minnesota to invest in solar.

The objective of the SUN Delegation is to encourage the University of Minnesota to install, or subscribe to, via community solar gardens, at least 1MW of solar PV for one or more of the University’s five campus locations. Read more →

Grand Challenge Course: Pathways to Renewable Energy

November 19, 2015Megan ButlerNews, UncategorizedComments Off on Grand Challenge Course: Pathways to Renewable Energy
photo

Photo Credit: David Clarke (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Pathways to Renewable Energy

This spring semester at the University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab Executive Director Ellen Anderson and Engineering Professor Paul Imbertsen are partnering to co-teach a cross-disciplinary course focusing upon renewable energy transition as part of the University’s Grand Challenge Curriculum. The 3 credit course, entitled GCC 3011/5011 Pathways to Renewable Energy, will meet Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:45 to 11:00 AM on the East Bank and is open to all University of Minnesota students.

GCC 3011/5011 will closely examine the Realpolitik of energy and the technical, legal, regulatory and policy underpinnings of renewable energy in the United States and Minnesota. Students participating in GCC 3011/5011 will gain an understanding of how political, economic and social structures in the United States and Minnesota bring competing and often contradictory forces to bear upon energy transition. This cross-disciplinary course fulfills honors experience as well as Technology and Society LE theme requirements, and is open to all students. For more information and to register visit z.umn.edu/GRANDCHALLENGE

Read more →

Connect with ETL
twitter social icon mail social icon
Administration
The Energy Transition Lab is a strategic initiative of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment in partnership with the Law School.
Funding
Funding for the Energy Transition Lab is primarily provided by the Institute on the Environment. Other funders include McKnight Foundation, Energy Foundation, Carolyn Foundation, US Department of Energy, Wind Energy Foundation and the University of California Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. Support for energy storage work is provided by the Minneapolis Foundation, Great River Energy, Mortenson Construction, AES Corporation, Next Era Energy Resources, and General Electric. Funders have no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of any manuscript.