Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 02.19.2015

February 17, 2015

Today: Suzie Nakasian, InterCity Rail Initiative (Madigan)

Birthdays: Jane Fenton and John Stull (2/18), Peg Prowe (2/19) and Brad Frago (2/22).

Next Week: Philipy inbound exchange student (Quinnell)

Last Week:

Here’s your chance to be part of the solution. Northfield Area Community Solar, a local nonprofit that is developing a solar garden east of town, is giving you the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and put the brakes on global warming.

Mary Jo Christofaro, who shares the role of community solar coordinator with Erica Zweifel, said it’s not too late to make a difference. Recent renewable energy legislation has unleashed a wave of solar energy development in Minnesota. Northfield Area Community Solar is inviting any Xcel customer who lives in Rice County or any adjacent county to subscribe to their garden.

The energy generated by the garden will go to the grid, and you will receive a credit on your electric bill. You can buy a certain amount of energy up to 120 percent of your annual consumption with a front-end investment or a pay-as-you-go plan. Subscriptions are for 25 years with a payback for front-end investors at 18 years. The pay-as-you-go plan has a longer payback.

Bigger developers are seeing an opportunity with Minnesota’s renewable energy legislation, they said. Their projects are aimed at larger business customers and institutions. Erica said Northfield Solar is trying to keep the “community in community solar.” Their solar garden is an avenue for the residential customer.

They are trying to keep the project as local and home-grown as possible. Minnesota Community Solar is the developer. It will lease the land, manage the subscriptions, and pay for the insurance and maintenance. The solar garden will be built with Minnesota made panels and Minnesota labor.

The local buy-in period end in May. So Mary and Erica encourage you to act now. To get started with your community solar subscription, go to:

Mini-Classification: Erica Zweifel noted that she has been a member of Rotary for two years. In that time, her son, now 15, has grown six inches, and she has a handle on her work staffing the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for Carleton College’s Science Education Resource Center (SERC).

Guests: Matt Rohn (S. Richardson), Linne Jensen and George Kinney (Haslett-Marroquin), Jesse Streitz (Williams) and Emily, Riley, Joey, Jack and William (Yogi).

Scholarship Enhancement: Laurie Williams, a well-earned gratuity for her piano work.


— President Rich said the club will be invoicing all of us electronically in the second quarter of 2015. Make sure your e-mail address is correct in the membership directory. That will be their guide.

— The Paul Harris Foundation clothing incentive program has been extended for six months. There is still time to make a donation, look sharp and promote Rotary using subliminal sartorial advertising.

— Yogi will be presenting on Angela Merkel, German Lady Chancellor and chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union, Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:30 p.m. at Carleton College. For more information, contact him at

Past Northfield Rotary Club meeting videos on Youtube: NorthfieldRotaryClubVideos

Coming Up

March 5 — Albert Nyembwe, Cilongu Foundation, (Spethmann)

March 12 — Chris Kennelly, Classification, (Reese)

March 19 — Guilia Mercanti, inbound exchange student (Brown-Wescott)

March 26 — Denny Hanson, President and CEO of Community Resource Bank, Classification (Weber)