Fred, Northfield MN. 9.8 kW ground mount project installed in September, 2015.
In the next few weeks, we will be featuring projects and testimonials from our customers that utilized the Made in Minnesota Solar Production incentive. Contact us to see what it can do for your solar project at 612-888-9599 or on our website http://www.trunorthsolar.com
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My wife Jenny and I live on 5 acres outside of Northfield, where I work at Carleton College. The college’s wind turbines and other efforts at sustainability inspired us to do something significant at our home. We determined that the Made in Minnesota solar program was a way to reduce our carbon footprint that would pay back our investment in less than 7 years. One day she said to me: “We should just do it.” So, I began to seriously investigate our options.
From your project’s start to finish, what was your overall impression of TruNorth Solar as a company?
We were being aggressively marketed by two companies but I could never get them to fully explain their costs or to give me more than a pro forma analysis of our energy use profile. So I searched and found other companies and wrote to ask if they were also interested in the Northfield market. TruNorth Solar was one of two that responded yes. From the beginning they were professional, informative and careful to consider the specifics of our situation. As a professional myself, I felt comfortable and confident in dealing with them. I took proposals from two companies but the TruNorth team and substantive proposal was clearly better.
What did you like about our design and construction process of your project?
We determined fairly quickly that we did not want to do a roof mounted system because we have a 17 year old roof and it is due for replacement within the next 5 – 7 years. That would not be economical if we mounted the solar over it and we did not want to do both projects now. TruNorth helped us design a ground mount system and to choose a panel manufacturer that would work well with our situation.
When I asked about the panel manufacturer, they were able to schedule a visit to the manufacturing facility in Bloomington where I got to meet the people who would assemble our panels and to watch how they put them together. When we had questions about the site and specific layout of the system, their chief engineer personally came to our property and walked the site with me, taking measurements and helping to design the best layout.
The project came together on site very quickly, once the pieces were all delivered. The work was done well and any small question was answered and issues were resolved quickly and completely. I was very impressed, and wondered if they were that attentive to all of their customers; I believe now that they are.
Tell us about your project.
We installed 24 TenK panels in an array of 6 rows, four panels wide. The system is on a slight slope in an area that we had to clear of brush and small trees to make it available for the solar array. We also cut down taller trees that were nearby to reduce shading and to avoid having the possibility of trees falling on the array in the future. TruNorth helped us figure out the site and layout and they installed a very professional “utility grade” ground cloth and gravel bed base to prevent weeds and erosion under the array. They wired it up to the house and we installed an eGauge system on the array that enables us and them to monitor it remotely over the Internet. They also handled all of the extensive paperwork with Xcel Energy to get us set up as a small generator and enrolled in the Made in Minnesota Rebate program. The whole installation came out very well – in a great space, with the best exposure available on our property and yet protected from the severest weather exposures that we hope will limit the future possibility of wind or other severe weather damage. We couldn’t be happier. We are excited at our new, low electric bills and we look forward to next summer when we might drive them all the way to zero or a net credit for a month or two. We are excited to be getting our 30% Federal Tax credit this year; a huge repayment of our investment last fall.
Would you recommend TruNorth Solar to others?
We would absolutely recommend TruNorth. We enjoyed working with each person we met from TruNorth and we love our system. We love how committed to green energy and solar technology the whole TruNorth company really is. We have enjoyed further conversation and dialogue with them about how our system is working, how other systems work. They monitor our system and have come back twice to make small adjustments to help it operate even better. They are a professional and committed group and we are delighted to have worked with them.