Region Nine Development Commission’s governing body has identified broadband access and child care as priority issues affecting the nine county region. These issues were also addressed as a high priority in the Annual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy based on feedback from the region.

Below are resources to help guide organizations in the region in developing innovative solutions. This page will be updated frequently as new information becomes available.

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. Region Nine supports funding for the Office of Broadband Development, additional investments in the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program of at least $50 million, and incentives for private sector service providers to respond to local or regional needs.

Connect Rural Broadband Summit

Resources

Broadband 101 PowerPoint

Resources

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 Region Nine Development Commission. Region Nine supports legislative initiatives to increase child care options in the nine county region.

Resources
Solsmart Silver Logo
Solar Energy

Welcome to Region Nine’s solar resource webpage. This webpage 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?

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

Solar Energy Planning & Implementation Resources

 

  1. American Planning Association: Planning for Solar Energy
  2. Great Plains Institute:
    1. Energy Planning
    2. 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. George Washington Solar Institute: Residential Solar Inspection Best Practices Part 1 – Rooftop
  5. George Washington Solar Institute: Residential Solar Inspection Best Practices Part 2 – Ground Level
  6. 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. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
  2. PACE Financing: Property-Assessed Clean Energy Financing
  3. MN Department of Commerce: Guaranteed Energy Savings Program
  4. Center for Energy and Environment (CEE): Residential Solar Financing
  5. Home Solar Loan – Powered by CU Green
  6. ICLEI & US DOE: Community Shared Solar
  7. CERTs: Solar Possible Joint RFP
  8. Home Solar Loans | Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union 
  9. 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

 

Solar Partners

 

Solsmart
Great Plains Instit