Tag Archives: Impact Power Solutions

Announcing Our Second Annual Solstice Solarbration & Fundraiser!

Celebrate The Solstice With IPS!

We are excited to announce the second annual Solstice Solarbration Fundraiser! Join us at the Como Zoo & Conservatory as we celebrate the longest day of the year and support an amazing nonprofit!

The evening will include a tasty food, delicious drinks, festive music and games, with the conservatory’s beautiful views serving as the backdrop. We’ll be raising funds to support the Footprint Project, and learning more about their mission of providing cleaner energy access to communities in crisis.

Prepare for the rare occasion where the sequel is better than the original! 144 people attended the first Solarbration and we and raised over $4,000 for great causes. This year we are setting our sights even higher with a fundraising goal of $7,500!

Early Bird ticket pricing lasts until June 1st!! Reach out to kylew@ips-solar.com for information on available sponsorship opportunities!

All proceeds from the event will support the Footprint Project’s work on hurricane resilience in Louisiana, and support humanitarian energy access for Ukraine. You can donate to the Footprint Project here. The IPS team is currently working with the Footprint Project to build mobile solar-powered generators that will be delivered to New Orleans communities impacted by recent extreme weather events. We’re extremely excited to partner with them for the Solstice Solarbration! 

Buy Tickets Now!

About The Footprint Project 

Footprint Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit disaster service organization that focuses on providing cleaner energy access to communities in crisis. We work across the disaster management cycle to deploy sustainable technologies where they are needed most.

Event Details 

What: Solstice Solarbration & Fundraiser presented by Impact Power Solutions
When: Tuesday, June 14th from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: Como Zoo & Conservatory
Tickets: https://solarbration.eventbrite.com

Vote for IPS as MN’s Best Solar Provider

We Need Your Support!

We’ve been nominated for the Star Tribune’s annual “Minnesota’s Best” contest! Impact Power Solutions, along with 21 other companies, is competing to be voted as Minnesota’s best solar provider. 

You can vote once per day through May 18th at this website. You’ll be able to find IPS within the “Home & Garden” category in the sub-category “Solar Energy Providers”. You should see a “thank you for voting” message once your vote is submitted. 

The results will be published in the Minnesota’s Best Winners Magazine, which will be inserted in the Star Tribune newspaper on Sunday, September 25th. We’re facing some stiff competition this year, so all support is appreciated! 

Category: Home & Garden 

Sub-Category: Solar Providers

Vote Now!

The Impact of the DOC Solar Investigation and Possible Tariffs

April 2022 | Eric Hanson, Chief Operating Officer, Impact Power Solutions

The DOC Solar Investigation is looking at possible circumvention of anti-dumping laws (AD/CVD) by imported solar modules and it’s sparking uncertainty for US companies and the solar industry. IPS’ Chief Operating Officer, Eric Hanson, shares his insight on how the investigation is impacting the sourcing of these modules and the development of commercial solar projects. We ask him how our projects are going, what we’re doing to avoid future issues, and how companies looking to adopt solar should react to this news.

What’s Being Reviewed in the DOC Solar Investigation

The US commerce department is analyzing a case brought by domestic manufacturer Auxin, which states that they and other domestic manufacturers have been harmed by companies importing panels below their true cost. A similar tariff has been on the books since 2012 which covers, of all things, washing machines and solar panels imported from China. The US government determined that panels and cells made were being sold at a below-market rate. Since that time there’s been an 18-28% tariff against certain Chinese panel manufacturers. The new case alleges that manufacturers in other countries – Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand – are doing the same thing.

The Difference Between the DOC Solar Investigation and the Previous 201 Trade Tariffs

The previous section 201 trade tariff had a bi-facial exception, which basically meant that any bifacial panel was not subject to it. It was a pretty big tariff, about 30%, now it’s ramped down to roughly 15%. The DOC Solar Investigation is similar to the 2012 anti-dumping tariff. If this petition is accepted by the department of commerce, it would be retroactive, and very large, 50% – 250% on top of the price of these modules and retroactive to some point, possibly to the beginning of this year, or to March of this year. No panel manufacturer feels confident that if they deliver right now, it wouldn’t be subjected to this tariff. It’s created a freeze on panels across the industry, and not the kind of freeze we’re accustomed to here in Minnesota.

Project and Product Delays

Projects are going great in 2022! It’s probably going to be one of the biggest years ever for IPS. The most significant delays we’re seeing are with inverters, lead times that are about double what we have been accustomed to. Instead of a typical 8-week delivery window, it’s now 20-25 weeks. We’re also noticing certain inverter manufacturers that don’t have any stock for the rest of the year. For the most part, though we’ve been able to pivot and find reliable manufacturers that we can use. At this point, we have not seen too many cancellations. You are able to install racking and inverters and wiring and conduit before you have modules, but we typically don’t do things that way. We would never start a construction project without procuring the modules or knowing that we have a path to procure them at an agreed-upon price. Typically the delays are due to supply chain issues. With inverters, for instance, there are a lot of PCBs with microchips, and every industry is fighting for microchips at the moment. But the largest single issue for us right now is transportation– it’s either too expensive, which causes suppliers to decline shipping if their freight numbers (usually included in our price) or a lack of delivery drivers. In many instances, we can’t get products across the ocean to the US.

What We’re Doing to Avoid Issues

North American panels are accessible to commercial installations, on a very limited basis. Typically the annual output is going to be a lot lower, so it’s pretty difficult to count on them to cover all of our needs throughout the year, knowing that there are quite a few companies like ours around the country. We have not looked into the secondary market, but we have looked at a lot of suppliers through Amicus, our solar buyers’ cooperative. We have seen some supply due to canceled orders from larger companies. We’ve really tried to open up the old Rolodex and talk with as many reputable distributors as possible. I think we’ve done a pretty good job at locating inverters and racking – modules are the only item hanging out there. As of today we haven’t had an issue locating modules, but I think that will likely change in the next couple of months.

How the DOC Solar Investigation will Impact the Commercial and Community Solar Market

If module supply is reduced by potentially 80% prices will go up. If that’s the case on the community solar front we’ll see delays as developers choose to wait out the current issues. For commercial customers, some will choose to move forward but many will wait out these problems as well. Both markets are less price-sensitive compared to utility-scale, with residential projects being even less price-sensitive than commercial and community-scale.

Implications for Companies Considering Solar

The biggest implication for any customer looking to install solar this year or next year is to act fast, to be very blunt. There are modules out there, we have a relatively solid supply of modules now, but that could change dramatically in the next several months if market dynamics do not change. If solar is a strategic initiative for your company this year or next year, due to the recent decision by the DOC, I would definitely say that you should act as soon as possible. If you have a proposal in front of you that makes financial sense, now is the time to do it and I think it’s going to get a little bit more uncertain as we move forward toward the end of 2022.

Is Solar a Strategic Initiative for Your Company? We Can Help.

If your company is considering sustainability initiatives, renewable energy, or energy efficiency improvements, we’re happy to hear from you. Impact Power Solutions has been helping organizations implement solar projects for over 30 years. If you’re interested in learning more or want to see how solar can work for your organization, reach out to us today!

Understanding your Commercial Electricity Bill

Understanding your Commercial Electricity Bill

Despite the fact that energy consumption is often one of a business’s biggest overhead costs, electricity bills are generally paid without a second glance. Understanding your commercial electricity bill will allow you to pick out the relevant information that impacts your energy strategy. This can be particularly helpful for companies that are considering sustainability initiatives, renewable energy, or energy efficiency improvements.


Let’s look at this sample Xcel bill from a commercial client and dig deeper to see what lies beneath that total monthly charge. 

Found on Xcel Bill Page 2

Electricity Charges

What You Need To Know:

The electricity charges section breaks down each component of your total monthly bill. Some charges include usage units and a per kwh rate, which show how they are impacted by your monthly energy usage. 

It’s also worth taking a closer look at the charges that aren’t explained on the bill. The Resource Adjustment includes costs related to several different conservation and renewable energy programs. Each program has a per kilowatt hour rate that is multiplied by your billed usage to formulate the total charge. The Affordability Charge is a flat monthly surcharge that offsets costs of offering bill payment assistance and discount programs to low-income customers. The charge varies based on customer type, and this commercial client pays $3.60 per month.

So what is the difference between a Charge and a True Up? Each year Xcel predicts the costs of energy and sets rates based on those predictions. When actual energy production costs rise or fall, Xcel adjusts prices accordingly and adds the difference to your bill as a ‘true up’. If energy prices fluctuate multiple times during the month, there will be multiple true ups. The total kWh of those true ups will equal your total billed usage.

Resource Adjustment Note:

Energy subsidies have long been a controversial topic. Virtually all sources of energy are subsidized, and unlike some subsidies, this one is directly mentioned on the bill. Powering your facility with solar can directly reduce the amount you pay into this fund.

Electricity Charges Glossary: 

  • Rate: Xcel charges customers different rates for their energy, depending on their maximum demand. This customer’s demand is 708 kW, which falls under the General Service Rate.
  • Basic Service Charge: This charge stays the same regardless of your usage. It covers the cost of providing you with energy service, such as electric and gas line maintenance. 
  • Energy Charge: This is the amount you pay per kwh for electricity usage. It includes the cost to generate the electricity you use, and costs to own, operate and maintain the power plants that produce it.
  • Fuel Cost Charge: This is the cost of the fuel used to generate electricity. It is a straight pass-through to you. Electric utilities calculate the total cost for fuel sources to generate electricity each month and pass those costs on to you as charges.
  • Sales True Up:  Each year Xcel predicts the costs of energy and sets rates based on those predictions. When actual energy production costs rise or fall, xcel adjusts prices accordingly. These adjustments show up on your bill as ‘true ups’. If energy prices fluctuate multiple times during the month, there will be multiple true ups. The total kWh of those true ups will equal your total billed usage.
  • Demand Charge (winter): Xcel applies demand charges based on the maximum amount of power that a customer uses in any 15 minute interval during the billing cycle. Demand charges usually apply to commercial and industrial customers, who tend to have higher peak loads. The rate for these charges changes seasonally. 
  • Affordability Charge: This is a surcharge to recover the costs of offering bill payment assistance and discount programs to low-income customers. 
  • Resource Adjustment: This includes costs related to several conservation and renewable energy programs. You can see the full list here. 
  • City Fees: In some cities Xcel Energy is required to collect a fee on behalf of the city.

Meter Reading Information

What You Need To Know:

The meter reading information section breaks down your energy usage during the last billing cycle. In this section we are looking for two things: your total billed energy usage and your instantaneous demand.

Your total billed usage can be found in the Total Energy row. Since your meter counts up cumulative energy used, the Current Reading isn’t actually the amount of energy used this month, its the total amount you’ve used since the meter was installed. You can take the Current Reading and Subtract the Previous Reading to find the amount of energy used this month. Use the multiplier in the top left-hand corner of the table (in this case 300) to get your Billed Usage in the far right column.  

The Demand row of the Billed Usage column shows the maximum amount of power you used within a single 15-minute interval. 

These two numbers show up as the Energy Charge and Demand Charge in the ‘Electricity Charges’ section of your bill. 

Meter Reading Information Glossary:

  • Current & Previous Reading: These columns show the cumulative energy reading from your meter during the current and previous billing cycles. THIS DOES NOT SHOW HOW MUCH ENERGY YOU USED THIS PERIOD. You can subtract the previous reading from the current reading to get your measured usage. 
  • Measured Usage: This is how much actual electricity in kilowatts that you used during this billing period, measured by your electric meter.
  • Billed Usage: Your measured usage is put into an equation that determines the total units of energy consumed. That number is your billed usage, and is what Xcel bases your monthly charges on.  
  • Total Energy: Energy can be broken down into multiple components. This includes all of them. 
  • Reactive Energy: Reactive energy is one of those components that contributes to total energy. 
  • Demand: Demand is a measure of how much instantaneous power a customer uses at a given time. Xcel calculates demand based on the maximum amount of power that a customer uses in any 15 minute interval during the billing cycle. 
  • Billable Demand: If this number is higher than Demand in the row above, you’re getting penalized for your power factor. 
  • Power Factor Demand: Power factor attempts to show how efficiently you are using the energy supplied to you. If your power factor is 100%, you’re using 100% of the supplied energy. A lower power factor means that you aren’t using all of the power supplied to you.

Found on Xcel Bill Page 1

Account Balance

What You Need To Know:

Your total account balance is the first thing you see on your bill, and the last piece of the puzzle. Its helpful to look at your usage information and the specific charges on your bill to get the full picture of your energy expenses.

If you are looking to spend less on energy bills, our experts are happy to help you evaluate your businesses’ solar potential. 

Account Balance Glossary:

  • Balance Forward: If this is zero, you’re up to date on your payments. 
  • Amount Due: This is the total amount you owe for energy this month. You can compare this amount to your Previous Balance to see if you’re paying more or less than last month.

Want help understanding your commercial electricity bill? We can help.

If your company is considering sustainability initiatives, renewable energy, or energy efficiency improvements, we’re happy to hear from you. Impact Power Solutions has been helping organizations implement solar projects for over 30 years. If you’re interested in learning more about your commercial electricity bill or want to see how solar can work for your organization, reach out to us today! 

Talk to Our Solar Experts

IPS Solar Acquired by New Energy Equity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Roseville, Minnesota – Impact Power Solutions (IPS Solar) announced on Thursday it was being acquired by New Energy Equity LLC. On March 2, ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE) announced it is acquiring New Energy Equity, which includes IPS Solar for $165.5 million.  IPS Solar will retain its branding and corporate headquarters in Roseville, Minnesota.

Redwing’s 6.12 MW Community Solar Garden, commissioned by IPS in 2016. 

“The IPS team is excited to join New Energy Equity and the ALLETE family of companies,” said the company’s CEO, Jamie Borell. “The shared vision of positively impacting the world with solar energy will ensure that our combined venture will enjoy tremendous success.”

IPS Solar is one of the country’s longest standing solar companies, having been founded by Ralph Jacobson in 1991. Jacobson remarked “I am thrilled to have the team that we have grown for thirty years now join the family of Allete companies. Together we will have the expanded resources and experience base to be at the forefront of building the world we all want for our children.”

Chief Development Officer and co-owner of IPS Solar Eric Pasi added “We are set to enter a new phase of growth. This partnership will allow our companies to dramatically expand the work we’ve already started, increasing access to clean energy for all Americans.”

New Energy Equity and ALLETE expect the purchase to close in mid-April upon satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including compliance with Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust clearing requirements.

About ALLETE, Inc.

ALLETE, Inc. is an energy company headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth; and BNI Energy in Bismarck, N.D.; and has an eight percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. More information about ALLETE is available at www.allete.com/.

About New Energy Equity 

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, New Energy Equity develops and finances solar power generation assets, providing clean electricity to commercial, industrial, municipal and utility customers under long-term contracts. New Energy Equity has successfully developed over 300MW of solar projects and closed more than $600MM in clean energy investments. The company was ranked as the 7th Top Solar Developer and the 8th Top Solar Contractor on Solar Power World’s “2021 Top Solar Contractors” list and was voted as one of the fastest-growing energy companies in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia by Inc. Magazine. To learn more, visit www.newenergyequity.com/

About Impact Power Solutions 

Impact Power Solutions, LLC is a full-service clean energy development company. For more than 30 years, they have worked to deliver customers solutions ranging from rooftop installations to multi-megawatt community solar gardens. IPS has been recognized as a Solar Power World Top Solar Contractor every year since the list’s inception in 2013. To date the company has helped to energize nearly 200 MW of solar across the country. The company’s purpose is, and always will be, to positively impact people, power and the planet with solar energy. To learn more, visit www.ips-solar.com


For media inquiries please contact Kyle Wehnes at kylew@ips-solar.com.

2021 Solar Policy Recap

2021 was a major year for the US solar industry and solar policy as the country re-opened. Despite a recovering economy, solar accounted for 54% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the first three quarters of 2021 according to the SEIA. 

2021 National Solar Policy Updates

Solar took several steps forward this year with substantial policy updates on a national level. The US re-entered the Paris Climate Agreement1, pledged to cut emissions in half by 20302, the senate passed the infrastructure bill3, the Solar Investment Tax Credit was extended4, and section 201 tariffs on imported solar modules were repealed5. Meanwhile, the DOE released a blueprint for massive solar expansion6, set an enormous goal for community solar for the next four years7, and prepared the grid for a large influx in solar8. The White House announced plans for the Environmental Justice Advisory Council9, while SEIA added an environmental justice platform10, and the NAACP published equitable solar policy principles for advocates and lawmakers11. As the US moves toward a clean energy economy, it’s clear that it must be an environmentally just and equitable transition. 

Solar Panels in front of the American Flag

2021 Midwest Solar Policy Updates

In the Midwest, Wisconsin12 and Ohio13 Republicans worked on community solar enabling legislation. Minnesota passed the Omnibus Energy Bill, providing millions of dollars to support solar on schools14, and will soon host one of the largest solar manufacturing plants in North America15. Illinois primed itself for a solar revolution, passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act16. With strong bipartisan support, solar appears to be a critical element in the Midwest’s recovering economy. 

IPS Company News

As a company, we celebrated our 30th year in the solar business17 and were recognized as a Top Solar Contractor for our 10th consecutive year18. Once again, we’d like to thank our clients, team, and collaborators for making this possible. We look forward to empowering energy customers to choose community solar as a leadership member of the CCSA19, as we prepare to expand into new markets and continue to positively impact people, power, and the planet with solar energy into 2022.

IPS founder, Ralph Jacobson speaking at our 30 year solar-bration
Photo Credit: Gregg Mast, CEEM 

Reflecting on the UK Trade Mission

By Eric Pasi

It was an honor to join Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on a trade mission to Europe in mid-November. The delegation was filled with experts from various fields including ours, Energy and Environment. I was only able to join for the UK portion which was jam-packed with productive meetings, conversations, and idea-sharing. Regional Trade Manager Steve Riedel from Minnesota Department of Economic Development was a great leader for our Environment and Energy delegation. He helped identify and facilitate a variety of engagements with our European counterparts, distilled into concise daily agendas.

There were multiple references to the “special relationship” enjoyed by the US and UK. In terms of climate goals, Minnesota and the UK share an outsized ambition to significantly curb GHG emissions over the next few decades. Our common interests include the accelerated adoption of cold-climate electric heat pumps, electrification of our transportation industries, and advent of offshore wind technologies in the US, much of which has been pioneered in the UK.

Several event highlights included visiting start-up accelerator Sustainable Ventures, whose offices boasted an incredible view of parliament and Big Ben. We toured London’s greenest office building at Southworks and learned about AI technology for autonomous vehicles at the Smart Mobility Living Lab. My favorite part of the trip had to be the briefing and social hour at the US Embassy, which played host to most of our UK collaborators.

An obligatory selfie of Eric Pasi at the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom.

The view of Parliament and Big Ben as seen from Sustainable Ventures.

At the conclusion of our trip I was thankful to have had an opportunity to share my relevant experience with our counterparts in London. The intersection between clean, but intermittent resources like wind and solar, and flexible loads like electric cars, green hydrogen, and heat pumps can improve the grid and reduce costs. The orchestration between generation and loads will be absolutely critical. Several contacts I met specialize in different facets of these value chains; fostering further innovation in this space will help ratepayers, utilities, and the planet. I look forward to building on these relationships and ideas in my development role at IPS.

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What to Consider When Designing a Solar Ready Building

What to consider when designing a solar ready building

Why Design Solar-Ready Buildings?

Solar-ready buildings allow for future solar installations without the need for expensive adjustments and retrofits. Many existing buildings aren’t a good fit for rooftop solar due to orientation, roof size, shading or other factors. It can be incredibly expensive, or even impossible, to retrofit these buildings in a way that makes solar viable. Even new buildings may need substantial improvements to capitalize on their solar potential. 

This can be avoided by including solar production as a design criteria in the building plan, not adding it after the fact. A few simple changes to the design of a building can make adding solar more predictable and less expensive. 

Building orientation, roof layout, space for PV equipment and knowledge of local zoning and regulatory requirements are all important factors to address. NREL has published two detailed reports here and here detailing the specific technical considerations, which we’ll summarize below. 

Building Orientation & Shading

Anywhere north of the equator, PV systems perform best when facing due south. With this in mind, sloped roofs will work best with one south facing side. While flat roofs are more straightforward, they are still susceptible to shading from nearby buildings and trees. Even small amounts of shading can decrease solar production, so finding a clear area for the solar array is crucial. 

Roof Layout

A contiguous rectangle of solar panels is the most efficient layout, maximizing the system size and reducing load on the roof. A building must have enough flat, unobstructed roof space to accommodate this. With today’s current solar technology, we typically estimate that 10,000 square feet of unobstructed roof space can fit a 126kW solar array (which would produce around 148,600kWh here in Minnesota). For example, take a look at these office and multi-family residential projects. 

Plumbing & exhaust vents, chimneys and other rooftop equipment can interfere with the placement of a solar array. These obstructions should be minimized when possible, and clustered together on the north side of the roof to save space. A good rule of thumb is to place an obstruction twice as far away from the array as the obstruction is tall, to avoid any shading. 

A ballasted solar array can add between 3 to 10 pounds per square foot of load to a building’s roof. The ballast is needed to counteract potential wind uplift. This additional weight should be accounted for when determining the roof’s load capacity. This is another reason that it’s helpful to cluster your rooftop units and other obstructions together in a spot away from the solar array. Having to work around those elements will change the layout of the system, and increase the load on that particular area of the roof. 

The color and material of the roof can also impact solar performance. White TPO membrane roofs, which provide increased reflectivity, can boost solar energy production up to 15% when bifacial modules are used.  

Your roof is a long-term investment and maintaining the existing warranty is key. Before selecting a roof material and manufacturer, it’s good to look into what is required to install solar on top of that membrane and how the warranty will be maintained. Most, if not all roof manufacturers have a process in place to retain the roof warranty after a solar installation, but the requirements (and associated costs) can vary widely. 

Electrical Requirements

Designing the building’s main electrical panel to accommodate solar without utility upgrades will also make interconnection easier. A good rule of thumb is to allow for 100 amps of electrical gear for every 100kw of solar. So a 1MW rooftop solar array would require the ability to connect a 1,000 amp service to the electrical gear, via a disconnect or breaker integrated into the gear. 

Identifying where the inverters and other solar electrical equipment will be located (on the roof or near the main electrical panel) should be part of the building design process. Ensure that adequate space is left at whichever location is chosen, and there is easy access for future maintenance. We recommend leaving 15 linear feet available for new solar equipment.   

Zoning, Permitting & Policy

Zoning laws, permitting requirements and their potential impact should be understood during the building planning process. These rules can cover the potential height of new neighboring buildings, how close a solar array can be to the edge of the roof or if there are historic preservation protections in place. 

Depending on the location of the building, there may be system size limits or interconnection restrictions that impact the solar system design. For example, in Xcel Energy territory in Minnesota, solar systems can be net metered up to 120% of a building’s energy usage or 1MW, whichever is reached first. Most other utilities in Minnesota only allow net metering up to 40kW. Similarly, knowing which federal, state and utility incentives are available will help maximize the solar project’s positive financial impact. 

Let’s Talk About Solar-Ready Buildings

Overall, there is a lot to consider when designing a solar-ready building, but the long term benefits are more than worth the extra planning. Impact Power Solutions has been helping organizations implement solar projects for over 30 years. If you’re interested in learning more about designing a solar-ready building, or want to see how solar can work for your organization, reach out to us today! 

How Solar Can Help Your Company Achieve Corporate Sustainability Goals

Many companies are turning to solar to achieve their corporate sustainability goals in response to shifting external factors, investor attitudes, and stakeholder preferences. With interest in corporate solar surging, we wanted to highlight recent examples of those external factors, show how solar can help, and illustrate how solar has helped our clients and collaborators achieve their goals. 

What Is Corporate Sustainability?

As the Ivey Business Journal puts it, “Corporate sustainability recognizes that corporate growth and profitability are important, it also requires the corporation to pursue societal goals, specifically those relating to sustainable development — environmental protection, social justice and equity, and economic development.”

Unfortunately, many companies struggle to gauge the effectiveness of their programs. A recent survey of both public and private companies revealed that while 81% of respondents’ companies have formal programs in place, only 50% of those respondents believe their company performs effectively. Fortunately, solar can help companies produce substantial, measurable results for their corporate sustainability goals. 

Environmental Protection 

A recent United Nations report, approved by 195 governments and based on 14,000 studies, confirms that humans are responsible for climate change. While the results are unsettling, there is still hope to achieve the best outcome with a coordinated effort and swift policy change. Since solar energy systems do not produce air pollution or greenhouse gases, they can drastically reduce your organization’s carbon footprint and are also an impactful way to advance your building’s green credentials. While your company may not influence policy, it can still take part in the coordinated effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

Take The Vomela Companies’ on-site solar array as a recent example. The company is projected to offset nearly 36,000 tons of CO2 over the next 30 years, which will make a significant and positive environmental impact. That’s the equivalent to adding 44,000 acres of trees to our forests. Additionally, the company achieved the sustainable green printing certification by pairing solar with other environmentally conscious practices.

 

The Vomela Companies Rooftop Solar Array  An Aerial View of The Vomela Companies’ rooftop solar array in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Social Justice and Equity 

The senate recently passed the $1 trillion infrastructure plan, allocating $36 billion in investment to fight climate change. In the proposal it states that, “the plan prioritizes addressing long-standing and persistent racial injustice. The plan targets 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities.” 

According to the IEA, solar energy has surpassed all other forms of energy as the most affordable electricity source in the world. Despite this, disadvantaged communities have less access to solar energy and its benefits compared to their counterparts. As outlined by the Scientific American, ”Racial and ethnic minorities have less access to solar power, regardless of income, highlighting the need for environmental justice.” Providing these communities with access to cheap, clean energy is an actionable way for organizations to take part in both social and environmental change.  

Look at Shiloh Temple’s rooftop community solar project as a recent example. Faith groups, businesses, and organizations across North Minneapolis banded together to create positive change. While other solar gardens are being developed to allow large corporations or municipal governments to subscribe, this garden demonstrates a new model by placing clean energy in a low-income community of color, creating green jobs for local residents, and ensuring access to community solar. 

 

Community members participating in Shiloh Temple's ribbon cutting eventCommunity members participating in Shiloh Temple’s ribbon cutting event.

Economic Development

In a recent statement by SEC chairman Gary Gensler, it was announced that plans are in development for mandatory climate reporting by the end of the year, signaling publicly traded organizations to be prepared for addressing environmental, social, and governance issues. Larry Fink’s 2021 annual BlackRock CEO letter said it best. “There is no company whose business model won’t be profoundly affected by the transition to a net zero economy.” 

Jobs in the solar industry are growing 17 times faster than the US economy and 90% of newly installed electric capacity was from renewable sources in 2020. Solar installer has been consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing jobs in the US in the past 5 years, according to the SEIA. Companies that meet their energy needs with rooftop solar are supporting economic development through manufacturing, installation, and more. Opportunities for companies to support economic development with solar are not limited to rooftop installations, either. Sourcing energy from community solar gardens provides economic support to rural communities, while giving farmers and landowners a valuable opportunity to diversify income streams. 

In a recent collaboration with Summit Academy, Target Corporation, and the City of Minneapolis, IPS led a workshop with recent Summit Academy grads and solar career hopefuls to help prepare them for NABCEP certification, the most well established certification in the renewable energy field. The IPS team shared their solar industry knowledge, the students received real world experience, and Target Corporation reinforced their commitment to renewable energy by supporting future renewable energy leaders.

 

Recent Summit Academy Grads, IPS team members, and Target representatives

Recent Summit Academy grads, Target representatives, and IPS team members.

Consider Solar for Accomplishing Your Company’s Corporate Sustainability Goals.  

If your company is looking for practical ways to achieve its corporate sustainability goals, we encourage you to evaluate solar. In addition to drastically reducing energy costs and carbon emissions, solar can compliment multiple company initiatives. Interested in learning more about what solar would look like for your company? Request a quote to see if solar is right for you! We’ve been happy to learn about your energy needs, educate inquirers, and demonstrate Solar’s payback for over 30 years.

2021 Top Solar Contractors: Our 10th Year

What is the 2021 Top Solar Contractor’s List?

Curated by Solar Power World, the Top Solar Contractors list is developed each year to honor the work of solar installers in the United States. Solar firms in the utility, commercial and residential markets are ranked by number of kilowatts installed in the previous year. Companies are grouped and listed by specific service, markets and states.  Solar Power World has recognized our installation success by ranking Impact Power Solutions at No. 13 on the 2021 Top Solar Developers list.

From the Curators of the 2021 Top Solar Contractor’s List

“Not even COVID-19 closures and slowdowns could prevent the solar industry from installing fantastic numbers last year,” said Kelly Pickerel, editor in chief of Solar Power World. “The Solar Power World team is so glad to recognize over 400 companies on the 2021 Top Solar Contractors list that not only survived a pandemic but thrived in spite of it.”

A Year to Remember

The U.S. solar industry grew 43% in last year, installing more solar panels on homes, businesses and across the country than any other year on record. The residential market saw an 11% increase, which is remarkable considering the difficulties of maneuvering home solar projects through pandemic precautions.

The federal government passed a two-year extension on the solar investment tax credit (ITC) at the end of 2020, which will further accelerate solar adoption across all market segments. After installing 19.2 GW in 2020, research firm Wood Mackenzie expects the U.S. solar market to quadruple by 2030.

Regardless of the turbulence faced last year, solar energy has remained 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

When asked why we keep coming back to the top solar contractors list, Chief Development Officer Eric Pasi said “In the beginning it leant a lot of credibility to our small business, and still does today. It’s also a way to push our team to new heights, trying to beat last year’s statistics and keep growing, which we’ve been able to do.” 

We’re honored to be recognized as a Solar Power World top solar contractor. In the 30 years since our founding, we have never overcome challenges like the ones faced this year. We extend our deepest thanks to our employees, clients, and community for making the installation of 34,618 kilowatts of solar capacity possible, and for the positive impact we’ve made on the environment together. 

If you’re curious to see what solar would look like for your organization, feel free to reach out via email at info@ips-solar.com, contact us, or request a quote to learn more.