Category Archives: Events

A Recap of the Red Lake Webinar

In February of 2016, Red Lake Nation announced plans of beginning a solar project to power several of their buildings in Northern Minnesota. With a rising mercury level in their local lakes from coal plant emissions, the savings from solar would allow the tribe’s commercial fishery to continue operation. 

Corporate financing fell through, but with the help of creative financing and community interest, the tribe completed the first of several installations, progressing toward one of the largest solar projects in Northern Minnesota.   

In this webinar, the panelists shared their first-hand experience with the project, answering these important questions:

    • What has this project taught you?
    • How does renewable energy fit with the tribe’s accountability decree?
    • How important was it to involve the local workforce with the installation instead of bringing in outside crews?
    • How can other communities use this project as a model?
    • When did you become aware of MnVest and what made you go that direction for project financing?
    • How did you find out about the Red Lake project and why is it important to share this story?
    • What has the reaction been from tribe members?
    • What is your definition of energy sovereignty?
    • What is the relationship between clean energy and equity in Minnesota, and how can clean energy businesses play an increased role in helping low-income and communities of color have increased access to clean energy?
 

Panelists:

Amelia Cerling Hennes of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, Bob Blake of Solar Bear, Ralph Jacobson of IPS, Darrell G. Seki Sr of Red Lake Nation.  

Solar Energy: A Tool For Community Empowerment

 

Clean Energy Economy Minnesota in collaboration with Solar Bear and Impact Power Solutions invite you to watch the video premiere of Red Lake Nation’s solar story!

In February of 2016, Red Lake Tribal leaders announced plans to become energy independent. Unfortunately, the band experienced economic hardship and was unable to install solar on their own.

With support from the community and solar industry leaders, a creative plan was developed to help Red Lake achieve their vision by leveraging crowdfunding. The plan was a success, and construction on phase two began last month on one of the largest solar projects in Northern Minnesota.

Join us to learn:

● How Red Lake tribal leaders are using solar energy to achieve energy independence.
● How this project is creating jobs and opportunities for Red Lake Nation.
● How solar will help this community live sustainably.
● The challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
● What’s in store for the next steps of the project and the community.

Following the premiere, join the project’s stakeholders for a Q&A session to answer questions about the project, and how you can bring clean energy to your community.

 

Register for Free!

Robert Blake

Founder & Solar Outreach @Solar Bear

Robert Blake is the owner of Solar Bear a solar installation company located in Minneapolis, MN, the Ojibwe pronunciation is Gizis-o-makwa. Robert is the Executive Director of Native Sun Community Power Development a Non- Profit located also in Minneapolis, MN. Robert is a graduate student at the University of Minnesotan Carlson Executive Master of Business Administration (CEMBA) program. Robert is a tribal citizen of the Red Lake Nation. His passion is spreading the word of renewable energy through communication, cooperation, and collaboration.

Darrell G. Seki, Sr.

Chairman @Red Lake Nation

Ralph Jacobson

Founder & Chief JEDI Officer @Impact Power Solutions

While earning his Bachelor of Science in Materials Science (Minnesota, 1989), Ralph developed a strong interest in photovoltaics. He decided to get into the business of designing and installing PV power systems, and in 1991, he founded IPS. In his 20-year service on the board of directors of the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, Jacobson initiated events such as the MN Solar Boat Regatta, the MN Solar Home Tour, and public classes on solar energy. More recently, he served as the founding president of the MN Solar Energy Industries Association. He is currently engaged in pioneering the market for energy storage in Minnesota and more engagement with people of color in the local industry.

Amelia Cerling Hennes

Director of Communications & Public Affairs @Clean Energy Economy Minnesota

Amelia is responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies to broaden the impact of CEEM’s public policy and oversee the organization’s overall communications and marketing strategy. Amelia is a storyteller at heart – and uses stories to help further CEEM’s mission to support and expand clean energy jobs and economic opportunities provided by clean, reliable and affordable energy on behalf of all Minnesotans. Amelia holds degrees in broadcast journalism and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She has more than a decade of experience in her field, including serving in the communications department at the Minnesota Senate, and serving as Weekend Anchor for the NBC affiliate in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Meet Saint Paul’s Largest Commercial Solar Array

On August 4, 2020, in partnership with Impact Power Solutions, Vomela unveiled its new solar-powered corporate headquarters in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Who Does the Commercial Solar Array Belong to?

Vomela is known for transforming ideas into memorable brand experiences through print media, offering a full spectrum of services to companies ranging from major retailers to local businesses since 1947. The industry leader moved to their new 300,000 square foot headquarters in the East Side of St. Paul in 2019, and regularly contributes to sustainability and making an impact

What Impact Will the Commercial Solar Array make on the Environment?

The 3,408 panels will produce roughly 1,600,000 kWh per year, enough to power 131 average Minnesota homes. Over 30 years the solar panel system will offset nearly 36,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of adding over 44,000 acres of trees to our forests.

  • 3,408 Panels
  • 1.3 Megawatt System Size
  • 2,400,000 Lbs of Co2 Offset Per Year
  • 1,483 Acres of Forest Preserved Per Year
  • 1,606,500 Killawatt Hours Generated Per Year

 

“It’s good news for our environment, it’s good news for our children, it’s good news for our lungs, and it’s good news for our future.” –Melvin Carter, Mayor of Saint Paul

Why Did Vomela Choose Solar Energy?

Making the decision to move forward with a commercial solar array isn’t always an easy one, but for Vomela, the decision just made sense.

“Where many companies used to ask “Why solar?”, the answer has become “Why not?”

The decision to make the switch to solar allowed Vomela to take another step toward sustainability, save thousands in their overhead costs, and allowed everyone to feel involved in making an impact on climate change. 

Congratulations, The Vomela Companies!

“Vomela has also been a great partner, and very smart about energy. They understand that solar makes them more competitive. Working with visionary teams like Vomela typically leads to successful outcomes.” – Eric Pasi

From the project’s inception to completion, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with our partners at Vomela. We’re always happy to be a resource to help companies realize the potential of commercial solar for their business, and to build a better future by providing access to renewable energy.

If you’re ready to make an impact on the environment and your overhead costs, visit our projects page to learn more and get a quote today to get started.

Impact Power Solutions Ranked top 10 Solar Developer in the US

What is the Top Solar Contractor’s List?

Curated by Solar Power World, the Top Solar Contractors list is made to showcase the work of solar installers and developers of all sizes. The list is determined by the number of kilowatts installed by a solar energy company in the previous year, divided into categories by the type of service the top solar contractor provides, regions, and states.

From the Curators of the Top Solar Contractor’s List

“The Solar Power World team is so pleased to highlight more than 400 companies on the 2020 Top Solar Contractors list, especially during this unprecedented time,” said Kelsey Misbrener, senior editor of Solar Power World. “All contractors featured on the 2020 list reported strong 2019 installation numbers and are continuing to stand tall this year.”

Top Solar Contractors Continue To Strive For Recovery

Despite COVID-19 being the immediate issue for the world to address, reducing carbon emissions to aid in climate change remains a top priority that affects all of us. 


The top solar contractors that made the list, the people we work with, and the communities we live in are all facing obstacles that have never been seen before. Q1 showed the largest amount of solar capacity ever installed in the United States, adding 3.6 GW of solar capacity. The force of these challenges emerged in Q2, with forecasts of 25% and 38% decreases in year to year volumes in 2020. 


Regardless of the turbulence faced in these uncertain times, solar energy is still effective in combating greenhouse gas emissions as an alternative to fossil fuels, and will continue to aid in efforts for economic recovery

Our Take On Being A Top Solar Contractor

We’re thrilled to announce that we are the #1 solar developer in the Midwest, among the top 10 commercial solar developers in the US, and grateful to be a part of Solar Power World’s Top Solar Contractors list for the 8th consecutive year.

 

In the 29 years since our founding, we have never faced challenges like the ones we see today. We extend our deepest thanks to our employees, clients, and community for making the installation of 29,784 kilowatts of solar capacity possible, and for the positive impact we’ve made on the environment together. 

The Pathway to Larger-Scale Solar in Minnesota – Parts 1-4

Celebrate Earth Day at Amsterdam Bar!

Earth Day Solar Happy Hour

Join us at Amsterdam Hall & Bar to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and we’re celebrating!

After an advocacy-filled day at the State Capitol, we’re making the short trip over to Amsterdam Hall and Bar to celebrate 50 years of solar progress.

Details

– This is a free event
– All ages are welcome!
– Appetizers will be provided


For more info on other Earth Day activities: https://mnearthday.org/

Amsterdam Hall is a quick Green Line trip from the Capitol. IPS will provide light rail passes for all attendees.

 

Register for Free!

 

Map to Earthday Solar Happy Hour

Mounds View Solar Educator Workshop Recap

On Saturday, February 8th, we hosted our first Solar Educator Workshop of 2020 at Mounds View High School. We had a wonderful time helping over 20 teachers develop new solar curriculum to bring to their classrooms and STEM programs!

Our Education Director, Michael Cartwright (a physics teacher for over 20 years) leads the workshops with IPS as a part of our Sunrise Program

Our Sunrise Program provides FREE Training – presenting some data visualization tools, as well as offering insight about how to adapt solar lessons for your classroom.

Sunrise event attendees receive three hours worth of continuing education credits and Solar Activities Kits to use in their classrooms.

Interested in attending a future educators workshop? Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed!

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Quarter of Giving Recap

Here at IPS, we set a goal for our employees and company each quarter. For Q4 of this year we decided to set our focus on giving back our community. This led us to partnering with organizations impacting local individuals, families, youth, and the renewable energy industry.

In order to impact families most in need in our community, we partnered with Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest to host two Cook for Kids events at their Oak Street location. We prepared a chicken dinner and quiche-filled brunch during the holiday season. Turns out, we have some seriously talented chefs in the IPS crew! Most importantly, we were able to feed over 150 families staying at Ronald McDonald House!

More About Ronald McDonald House Charities

We keep families together when it matters most.  We offer a warm, welcoming “home-away-from-home” and services that range from schooling to meals to family-friendly activities.

In the IPS offices, we hosted two gift drives – a winter coat drive & a non-perishable food drive

Our goal for our winter coat drive was to collect at least 30 coats for Hope4Youth, a local organization that provides resources for homeless and at-risk youth. Not only did we meet our goal, we CRUSHED it! We were able to collect over 50 coats ensuring youth stay warm in this cold Minnesota winter weather. 

More About Hope4Youth

HOPE 4 Youth is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Minnesota that provides pathways to end youth homelessness in our community. On any given night, there are more than 6,000 homeless young people in the State of Minnesota staying on the streets, many of them right here in our community. We work hard to change the life trajectories of the youth experiencing homelessness who need us.

Whether they need basic necessities – food from the food pantry, clothes from the clothing closet, a hot shower, a hot, nutritious meal, or personal hygiene items – or help finding housing, securing employment, finishing their education, or accessing health care, we help them find a path that allows them to move forward with their lives – no longer experiencing homelessness.

Our non-perishable food drive benefited Keystone Community Services on Rice Street. Our goal was to collect over 50 canned goods, and once again the IPS staff stepped up and CRUSHED our goal! We collected over 75 non-perishable goods!

More About Keystone Community Services

We provide vital, community-based services aimed at strengthening our community, with a commitment to serving people with the greatest needs. Our services are designed with community input to meet the aspirations and respond to the changing needs of those we serve, including young people and families, seniors, and those needing food services or crisis support. We deliver high-quality, evidence-based services in neighborhood gathering places that make our community stronger.

Lastly, we continue to be an extremely proud to be a part of the Minnesota Clean Energy Economy. Partnering with organizations like Climate Generation, allows us to support some of the most valuable resources in the clean energy industry. This quarter, we sponsored Climate Generation’s Band Together concert! It was an amazing night to see talented musicians stand up for climate protection.

 

IPS to Host Solar Educator’s Workshop

 

Join IPS Solar and our Education Director, Michael Cartwright (a physics teacher for over 20 years) as we demonstrate the available curricula IPS Solar can provide your school. This workshop is a great way to enhance your professional development and add to your continuing education requirements.

This is a FREE Training provided by IPS Solar. IPS will be presenting some data visualization tools, as well as offering insight about how to adapt solar lessons for your classroom.

All participants will be eligible for three hours of continuing education credits and will receive Solar Activities Kits to use in their classrooms.

Afterwards, IPS will be hosting a complimentary lunch down the street at The Exchange Food & Drink. All attendes are welcome to join!

Participants at this workshop will:

– Explore solar energy curriculum for 4th & 5th graders, middle schoolers, and high schoolers
– Interact with real-time solar production data from local schools
– Collect photovoltaic statistics for series and parallel circuits
– Analyze circuit effects on potential difference and current
– Experiment with photovoltaic production for a variety of light sources
– Explore the relationship between distance from source and production

Register for Free!

Solar Power World Gala – Photo Gallery

Check out some pictures from the 2019 Solar Power World Gala!

We were extremely honored to be awarded with the Greenest Contractor Award along with our industry rankings of #51 U.S. Solar Contractor, #12 U.S. Commercial Solar Developer, and the #1 Solar Developer in the Midwest!

The Greenest Contractor Award takes note of our commercial and community work were we promote pollinator-friendly solar gardens and help businesses meet their sustainability goals. However, it also recognizes how our company operates on a day-to-day basis to have a positive impact on the environment.

 

At its office, IPS Solar installed electric vehicle charging stations, available to customers and employees. Every lightbulb has been replaced with low-voltage LED lights. The office lobby façade is constructed entirely of local reclaimed wood. Every employee has a recycling bin at their desk, and single-use silverware and dishware is absent from the kitchen. In the field, IPS Solar couples solar gardens with pollinator-friendly plants and apiaries. And in the community, the company sponsors local environmental and renewable energy nonprofits and events, including Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light’s Climate Justice Night at the Museum. – Billy Ludt, assistant editor of Solar Power World

 

The IPS Solar team with SPW representatives

Jamie Borell (CEO) accepting SPW award

Pictured L to R: Jamie Borell (CEO), Laura Cina (Project Manager), Eric Hanson (Project Management Director), Ralph Jacobson (CIO), Kyle Wehnes (Marketing Director), and Eric Pasi (CDO)