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CERTs Seed Grant

Grants to Minnesota Organizations for Technical
Assistance for Energy Efficiency Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs)

Deadline Date:

10/20/17 4:00 PM


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Grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 to Minnesota organizations to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This program offers limited financial assistance for technical assistance related to qualifying energy projects. Funding may only be used for technical assistance services, such as consultants, installers, student labor, and design professionals.

The Clean Energy Resource Teams—or CERTs—are a statewide partnership with a shared mission to connect individuals and their communities to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects.

The primary objectives of this funding are to:
-Encourage the implementation of community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota CERT regions
-Spur projects that are highly visible in their community and replicable by others
-Provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their many benefits

Each region has its own pool of funding available for technical assistance to catalyze community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Each regional team’s Steering Committee will make its own selections and project funding levels will vary by region, though for all regions, these are considered seed grants and are not intended to fund a project in its entirety.

Project must demonstrate the ability and commitment to serve as a community-wide educational resource for renewable energy and/or energy efficiency.

Project must make itself available for tours, interviews, etc. during and after the project and be willing to have a case study written about it.

If project includes implementation, the project should utilize technologies that are technically sound with well-demonstrated and documented effectiveness, ideally vetted by an independent third-party.

Statewide Criteria:
1. Advance community energy efficiency and/or renewable energy
2. Ideally, provide measurable energy savings/offsets
3. Have high potential to provide replicable models
4. Engage and involve a variety of community partners
5. Demonstrate clear goals, benchmarks, timelines, and budgets
6. Have a well-articulated plan to share their work and use it to educate a broader audience

Additional Regional Criteria and Preferences:

Central CERT:
Central CERT is interested in working with awarded applicants on developing the “well-articulated plan to share their work and use it to educate a broader audience,” as stated above in Criteria #6

Metro CERT:
-Energy Efficiency First. Preference for projects that focus on energy efficiency/conservation. If you are applying for funding for a renewable energy project, please explain in the application how efficiency/conservation is part of the project or has already been addressed.
-Collaborations that reach two or more of the following audiences: underserved communities, local governments, and local electric or gas utilities. For underserved communities, please describe in the application how you perceive your community to be underserved (e.g., lacking access to resources to implement clean energy projects or address energy-related challenges).
-Projects seeking larger grants to support deeper, multi-party collaborations (versus smaller individual grants, as have been funded in the past). We would like to fund grants in the $5,000-$10,000 range that meet the above criteria.

Northeast CERT:
-Preference given to projects not previously funded

Northwest CERT:
No special requirements, though Northwest CERT does place a special emphasis on projects that are high profile, could serve as a model for other like sites/entities, have a significant community reach, or have strong community connections. In addition, the Steering Committee is particularly interested in projects from smaller communities.

Southeast CERT:
No special priorities specified. Southeast CERT is interested in seeing as many entities with as wide a range of potential applications apply as possible.

Southwest CERT
-Preference for projects that focus on youth, partnerships, mixed/gap funding sources and education
-Demonstrable results AND clear about results, in particular about the educational results

West Central CERT:
No special priorities specified. West Central CERT is interested in seeing as many entities with as wide a range of potential applications apply as possible.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 162124

Estimated Size of Grant:

Most projects have historically received funding for amounts between $2,000 and $5,000.

Term of Contract:

Applicant must demonstrate that the project will be completed within the funding period (February 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Southwest CERT: Only nonprofit and public sectors eligible. They may work with and sponsor application by a private entity.

Project must be located within one of the seven Minnesota CERT regions: Central, Metro, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, or West Central.

Ineligible costs include: materials, hardware, printing, food and travel.

Pre-Application Information:

Northeast CERT: 25% match required (in-kind allowed).

Each region has a funding pool of $20,000.

A single project may apply for funding from more than one region if the project spans more than one region. Applicants applying to multiple regions are required to complete a Multiple-Regions Application Addendum that must be requested from either Lissa Pawlisch or Joel Haskard.

If you’re wondering what region you’re in, click here to see a regional map:

You can also visit each region’s webpage to view more details about the region’s priorities:
-West Central:

Submit proposals electronically no later than 4:00 PM on Friday, October 20, 2017.

Funding will be provided on a reimbursement basis.


-September 7, 2017: Issue RFP; start accepting applications
-Fri., October 20, 2017 @ 4:00 PM: Proposals due
-Nov 13 – Dec 8, 2017: Steering Committees meet to discuss project applications and determine project funding.
-Second week in December 2017: Funded and non-funded projects notified
-Mon., January 8, 2018: Contracting forms due
-Thurs., Feb. 1, 2018: Projects may begin work; awards announced; CERTs writes up project funding overview; CERTs does media outreach about funded projects
-Fri., June 15, 2018 @ 4:00 PM: Project Interim Report Due (form provided by CERTs). Projects may also submit an interim invoice with their Interim Report for eligible expenses up to 50% of the full project award. Any project that has yet to begin project activities will have funding revoked. Funds will be redirected to other project(s) in the region.
-Thursday, February 28, 2019 @ 4:00 PM: Project must be completed and Final Report submitted electronically (form provided by CERTs). Project must submit an invoice with their Final Report for eligible expenses up to the remainder of the full project award.
-March 1 – July 2019: CERTs will work with Seed Grant Recipients to develop project case studies.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register here to download the application form:

Please submit all proposals electronically to:

Questions regarding the proposal process may be directed to CERT staff, listed below.

Central Region and Northwest Region:

Lissa Pawlisch, Statewide Director

Joel Haskard, Statewide Director
(612) 625-8759

Metro Region:

Diana McKeown, Great Plains Institute
(612) 278-7158

Northeast Region:

Brian Bluhm, Northeast CERT Coordinator
(218) 290-1953

Southeast Region:

Chris Meyer, Southeast CERT Coordinator
(507) 454-2691

Southwest Region:
Annette Fiedler, SW Regional Development Commission
(507) 836-1631

West Central Region:
Kristi Fernholz, West Central CERT Coordinator
(320) 289-1981 ext.106

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota