Category Archives: IPS Solar

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.

IPS Solar is now Impact Power Solutions

 

IPS Solar is now Impact Power Solutions.

We are proud to share that we have a new name and brand identity! It’s a different look, but rest assured, our core beliefs haven’t changed at all. Our unwavering commitment to our values, our customers and our mission remains the same.

All companies work to generate profits and create value, but the best run-companies do more. They have a broader, more complete view of corporate responsibility that is focused on creating value for all. That mindset has helped pilot our business for 30 years, emphasizing long-term success over short-term gains. Now, as our company enters this exciting new era, we feel that it’s time to update our name and mission to reflect those beliefs. 

We believe our new name, Impact Power Solutions, better embodies who we are, what we believe in, and how we help our clients succeed. As we grow, so does the impact we have on our clients, the communities we serve, and the climate. We are dedicated to maximizing that impact on and off the balance sheet.

That means continuing current initiatives like our Sunrise Educational Program and our efforts promoting local workforce development, while starting new ones like our partnership with the American Forests Organization to plant one tree for every kilowatt of solar we install.  

Company founder Ralph Jacobson is taking on a new role as Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer.  This will allow him to expand his efforts with under-represented communities.  Ralph is working on phase two of the Red Lake Solar project this year, bringing in tribal members to learn about solar technology and career pathways while installing panels on roofs. 

Our core purpose – to build a better future by providing access to renewable energy – has always been the foundation of our success, and will remain the cornerstone of who we are as we take on a new name and look. 

We’d like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of the clients and partners who have helped us make the last 30 years a success. We can’t wait for the next 30! 

IPS Announces Tree Planting Partnership

 

Turning Solar Into Saplings!  

We’re extremely excited to announce our partnership with American Forests to plant one tree for each kilowatt of solar we install in 2020 and beyond! 

Climate change can’t be solved without fully using the power of forests to help capture and store carbon dioxide emissions generated by human activity. More than 14 percent of U.S. carbon emissions each year are absorbed by our forests, and there is potential to grow this natural carbon sink by restoring our forests and planting more trees. 

American Forests is the oldest national conservation organization in the country. They have been working to restore threatened forest ecosystems and inspire people to value and protect urban and wildland forests for over 140 years. 

Expanding the tree canopy of our nation’s forests will improve the quality of life for residents and make our communities more sustainable, beautiful and livable. We’re honored to be working with a great organization like American Forests to help make this happen!

 

 

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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2020 Solar Trends: Opportunity Zones

Opportunity zones are certified low-income areas into which investors can deploy capital for value-adding projects, in exchange for federal capital gains tax and other advantages. 


In general, capital gains are incurred when selling an appreciated asset such as real estate or stocks.  The appreciated gain is taxed at a special rate, which is typically 15% to 20%.


By investing in opportunity zones an investor’s capital gains rate can be reduced by 50% to 75% depending on how long the investment is held.  


Opportunity zone funds can be used for solar, microgrids, electric vehicle charging stations, and energy storage.


Another benefit, Investors will not be taxed on any capital gains incurred from a project if they hold that property or asset for a decade or more.


There are 8,760 opportunity zones in all 50 states.

 

2020 Solar Trends: Xcel Solar Rewards Program

Xcel’s Solar*Rewards® program provides a financial incentive for residents, businesses and public entities to install solar power. Annual payments are made to the owner of the solar system in exchange for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) produced by solar.  This is known as a performance-based incentive or PBI.


Xcel customers also qualify for Net Metering up to 1 megawatt AC (or enough power for roughly 200 homes).  If you generate more than you need, the extra energy is added to the grid, and any excess energy will be credited to your bill. 

Additionally, there’s a specific sub-program for under-resourced communities and income-qualified multi-family.


It is important to note that small commercial incentives levels are decreasing.


Also, large projects qualify for a separate bill-credit mechanism called capacity credit program or ELPC which was strengthened in 2019.

 

2020 Solar Trends: Minneapolis Green Cost Share Program

The City of Minneapolis is offering an incentive to install solar: the Green Cost Share Program. Qualifying projects will be compensated based on the solar array’s projected first year kilowatt hour production, up to $50,000.  Funding ranges from $.20 to $.40.


Priority will be given to buildings in designated Green Zones and to buildings that are participating in the 4D Affordable Housing Program.


Worth noting, projects receiving funding will require prevailing wage.

 

2020 Solar Trends: Corporate Solar

Major corporations are really stepping up and making a commitment to sustainability and clean energy! Industry leaders like Target, Walmart, IKEA, and Cargil have decided to leverage solar to benefit their business and the environment. 

 

Additionally, real estate investment trusts are also getting in the mix. Earlier this year, we announced two new projects with STAG where we are leasing their roofs for community solar projects!