RNDC’s governing body has identified broadband access, child care, and sustainability as priority issues affecting the nine-county region. You will also find information on the Inflation Reduction Act, buildings and sites available for purchase, and additional resources.

Below are resources to help guide organizations in the region in developing innovative solutions, or you can click the links in the menu above.

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Broadband Resources

Access to high-speed internet is essential to the development of the regional economy and quality of life in South Central Minnesota. While there are many challenges, some have broken through the barriers to achieve success. RNDC supports funding for the Office of Broadband Development, additional investments in the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program, and incentives for private sector service providers to respond to local or regional needs.

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Child Care Resources

Identified as an important issue nationally, the availability of child care services—or lack thereof—in South Central Minnesota is of particular interest to RNDC. RNDC supports legislative initiatives to increase child care options in the nine-county region.

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Solar Partners

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Solar Energy

Welcome to RNDC’s solar resource section. This section contains information about solar energy in South Central Minnesota. Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun – and provides many benefits for individuals and the community. It can be used to generate electricity, to provide hot water, and to heat, cool, and light buildings.

Minnesota is a great place for solar energy.  Believe it or not, much of the Midwest has the same solar potential as Tallahassee, FL and Houston, TX! Through a combination of utility rebates and new technology, solar electricity continues to become more affordable and a more common part of the energy system.


What is Region Nine doing around solar energy?

RNDC is participating in SolSmart, a national program that provides free technical assistance with addressing local barriers to solar energy. Through this program, RNDC is working to make it easier for residents and businesses to choose solar energy.

Solar Energy Planning & Implementation Resources

 

  1. American Planning Association: Planning for Solar Energy
  2. Great Plains Institute:
    1. Sustainability and Resilience Planning for Communities
  3. SolSmart Program: Best Practice Actions and Resources
    1. Actions
    2. Resources
  4. Glossary of Solar Energy Terms 
  1. MN Department of Labor and Industry: Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Checklist
  2. MN Department of Labor and Industry: Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Resources
  3. Interstate Renewable Energy Center: Model Inspection Checklist for Rooftop PV Systems
  4. SolSmart Program: Best Practice Actions and Resources
    1. Actions
    2. Resources
  1. Minnesota State Statutes Enabling Solar Development
  2. Citizens Utility Board
  3. MN Public Utilities Commission
  4. MN Department of Commerce: Solar Consumer Protection
  5. MN Department of Commerce: Solar Consumer Protection / Solar Information
  6. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): Solar Consumer Protection
  7. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA): Consumer Protection
  8. Interstate Renewable Energy Center: Consumer Bill of Rights / Consumer Checklist
  9. SolSmart Program: Best Practice Actions and Resources
    1. Actions
    2. Resources

Typically solar installations are paid for through loans or cash, with Federal and State incentives available.


  1. PACE Financing: Property-Assessed Clean Energy Financing
  2. Center for Energy and Environment (CEE): Residential Solar Financing
  3. ICLEI & US DOE: Community Shared Solar
  4. CERTs: Solar Possible Joint RFP
  5. Home Solar Loans | Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union 
  6. Region Nine Development Commission: Revolving Loan Funds

Interested in your own solar energy system?

Wondering if a particular site in Minnesota is good for solar energy? The Minnesota Solar Suitability App can help. This tool displays the solar potential of every spot in the state of Minnesota. With this data, and the services provided through this application, home and business owners can easily identify the solar potential of their property.

 

Active Solar Installers for Solar PV

Minnesota is home to many solar companies. The Clean Energy Project Builder is a great place to find an assortment of clean energy businesses including solar installers, community solar garden developers, energy auditors and more.

Wondering what questions to ask? Check out The State of Minnesota’s list of questions to ask potential renewable energy installers

 

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Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Rural Development

Congress passed the legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. IRA represents the largest single investment in rural electrification since the passage of the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. Sections 22001 through 22005 of IRA provide new loan and grant products and unprecedented incentives to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs, and spur economic growth to be offered by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and Rural Business and Cooperative Service (RBCS).

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Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

Over $2 billion for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement grants.

Empowering Rural America New ERA Program

New ERA funding improves health outcomes and lower energy costs for people in rural communities.

Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) Program

PACE helps make clean, affordable, and reliable energy accessible to the people of rural America.

Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program

Competitive grants to eligible entities for activities designed to expand the sales and use of renewable fuels.

Additional Funding Resources

Below are links to find additional funding resources.

 

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Energy Communities Funding Opportunities

Explore the variety of funding opportunities available to energy communities, allowing energy communities to redevelop and revitalize.

energycommunities.gov/funding-opportunities

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Grant Navigator – League of Minnesota Cities

The Grant Navigator Program provides funding in the form of small grants to help city leaders understand, identify, and apply for grant funding for city projects.

lmc.org/resources/grant-navigator/

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Empowering Small Minnesota Communities Program | Center for Transportation Studies

The Empowering Small Minnesota Communities (ESMC) program is a community-centered collaboration with the University of Minnesota to support small communities in becoming well-positioned to benefit from federal, state, and local investments.

cts.umn.edu/programs/empoweringcommunities

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State of Minnesota Grants

Grant seekers can search for grant opportunities by state agency or by subject area by following the appropriate link. Please read grant announcements carefully as some state grant opportunities are only open to certain types of organizations, such as units of government.

mn.gov/grants