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Sundial Commissions Largest Minnesota-Made Solar Panel Array

200 kilowatt system at Performance Office Papers in Lakeville is largest yet.

Lakeville, MN – With the installation and commissioning of a 200 kW photovoltaic solar system on the Performance Office Papers manufacturing facility in Lakeville, January 11, 2013 marked a historic benchmark in the development of the solar industry in the state of Minnesota. The 1,054 panels installed on the roof were made in Bloomington by tenKsolar, Inc and installed by Sundial Solar, a Minneapolis company. The system is the largest of its kind in Minnesota and is expected to produce 290,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year helping to power the manufacturing plant inside.

“We’ve been working hard to see this day become a reality,” says Russ DeFauw, CEO of Performance Office Papers. “Installing this solar system not only helps our business but sends the right message to our customers and the world.” He pointed out that it’s a natural extension of their business sustainability program, policies which they embraced long ago “because it’s the right thing to do”.

The solar industry in Minnesota is just starting to flourish. “We work with solar companies across the world. We’re proud to commission this system with Sundial and Performance Office Papers and are confident that we’ll see a lot more systems like this sprouting up as solar takes on a mainstream role in energy supply across the country and here in Minnesota.” said Joel Cannon, CEO of tenKsolar.

“Seems like yesterday we thought 40kW was a big project in Minnesota,” says Jon Kramer, CEO of Sundial Solar, the developer who designed and installed the Performance solar system. Sundial is a Minneapolis-based solar developer that works on solar projects nation-wide. “With projects like this we are finally starting to see the potential this state has for solar, both for manufacturers and consumers.” The thousands of acres of flat roofs on buildings scattered across the state has Kramer betting on a sunny future for his business and the solar industry in Minnesota. “Commercial and industrial rooftops are our specialty,” he says, “They’re a potential land of opportunity as far as solar is concerned.”

Although the price of solar installations has decreased in recent years, including in Minnesota, Kramer says it still takes real commitment by a client to install a large system like the one at Performance. Systems over 40kW – the current size limited by rebate programs – receive no help whatsoever from the state nor utilities. As a result Minnesota barely shows up in the list of states that have deployed solar. “Minnesota has installed less solar in 3 years than the state of New Jersey does in one month!” Kramer said, “Until we see changes in our outdated energy laws, Minnesota will stay near the bottom of the list.”

In the meantime, Sundial and tenKsolar continue to rely on patrons like Performance Office Papers’ Russ DeFauw and others like him to keep the Minnesota solar industry moving forward.