bussiness structure

QUESTION: non-profits with for-profit wings

question / pregunta: 

I'm working on an article about a company District Energy, which is a non-profit that also operates a for-profit energy company called Market Street Energy. How common is the practice of non-profits owning for-profit businesses? How is it done legally? Can the money generated go directly back into the non-profit? Do these for-profit companies operate under any of the restrictions that apply to nonprofits, or are they regulated the same as any other corporation? Any info would be much appreciated.

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