Clean energy conference kicks off in St. Cloud

Clean energy conference kicks off in St. Cloud Click to Enlarge Photo: By KNSI News Anchor Frank Lee

Mar 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - A conference about clean energy kicked off today at the River’s Edge Convention Center as interest in solar gardens in Minnesota heats up.

It’s the sixth time that the conference, which is held every other year, has been held in St. Cloud, according to Lissa Pawlisch, director of Clean Energy Resource Teams, who talked to KNSI's Frank Lee

"Community solar gardens are making headlines in Minnesota because in 2013 our state Legislature passed a law requiring Xcel Energy, the state's largest investor-owned utility, to develop community solar gardens," Pawlisch said.

"At the same time we've also seen many cooperative utilities from around the state start to develop their own community solar gardens, so that industry is starting to really take off."

The two-day conference with the theme of community-driven clean energy is billed as an exploration and celebration of successful energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

"So we're hearing a lot more about innovations and small businesses and energy efficiency, we're hearing a lot more about new and emerging financing tools to help people move their clean energy projects forward," Pawlisch said.

More than 60 exhibitors are at the event, which is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

"I think that economic development, and job and profitability argument, resonates with so many people," Pawlisch said.

For more information about the CERTs 2015 Conference in St. Cloud, visit


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