Grant program supports energy-saving projects in southwest MN

UCAP, area cities receive CERTs seed grants

A recent round of grants will have an impact on southwest Minnesota communities, funding projects ranging from lighting upgrades to improving residential energy efficiency.

Last week, Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) announced it was awarding seed grants to a total of 45 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects around the state. Grant recipients in southwest Minnesota include the city of Slayton, as well as organizations like United Community Action Partnership and the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership.

“It has been a good program for us to work with,” said Jeff Gladis, housing director at UCAP. Gladis said grant funding would help UCAP staff do in-home education on saving energy, and connect clients with other energy-saving resources. “We are going to target 30 homes in our service area,” Gladis said.

Gladis said UCAP received a $9,000 grant for its southwest service area, as well as a $10,000 grant for its west-central area.

“This new round of CERTs Seed Grants will support community-identified initiatives, help provide jobs and training opportunities, plus engage communities in reaching their clean energy goals,” CERTs co-director Joel Haskard said in a news release.

Financial support for the grants comes from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, with additional support from the Morgan Family Foundation, CERTs said. Each of seven Minnesota regions would be receiving $43,000 in grant funding. Projects receiving grants were selected by regional steering committees made up of local residents.

The list of seed grant projects in southwest Minnesota included a few different lighting upgrade projects at city and county buildings. The city of Slayton received a grant to install more efficient LED lighting fixtures at the city library and senior center. The Murray County 4-H building will also be getting new LED lights with the help of a grant, CERTs said.

Other grants were awarded to southwest Minnesota organizations, like the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership and UCAP. The Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership will be receiving a grant to help pay for feasibility assessments to install heat pumps at three multifamily residential properties, CERTs said.

The seed grants will also help UCAP’s home education and energy saving program.

“We do some one-on-one education to see how (clients) can lower their energy bills,” Gladis said. At the same time, the energy-saving program can also check to see if clients are eligible for help from UCAP’s weatherization assistance program, or for help with installing energy-saving appliances available through local utilities.

“It has been a really successful program through the years,” Gladis said. Partnerships with area utilities and organizations like CERTs have also made an impact on the program.

“The grant funding helps pay for some of the labor costs” for the home education program, Gladis said. “It really helps us stretch our budget.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today