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Kingfield solar tour shows off local energy-saving projects

On June 2, Minneapolis’s Kingfield neighborhood is hosting a tour of several new solar projects at local businesses.

The tour includes Quality Coaches, Twin Town Guitars, and Pat’s Tap; tour participants can check out the businesses at their own pace.

TenKsolar, which developed the solar arrays, will be on hand displaying solar models at each stop. There’ll also be other activities at each site, including live music and a solar oven cooking demonstration.  
A $10,000 city climate change grant that the Kingfield Neighborhood Association (KFNA) received last year enabled a couple of the projects, according to Sarah Linnes-Robinson, the executive director of KFNA. Around the same time, Pat’s Tap pursued its solar installation independently, she says.
Through the project, she says, “Our goal was to remove barriers for small businesses to install solar.”
In some cases, solar installations can mean a lot of upfront costs, but in the end, “people are saving money,” she says. “We want to highlight that this is doable,” even for private homes. 

To help introduce area businesses to solar technology, the neighborhood group started out by identifying 24 possible candidates for the installations.
From there, the neighborhood group educated business owners, many of whom rent their buildings, about what solar projects entail. KFNA ended up paying for solar assessments at 10 of those sites. At that point, “It was their decision to proceed or not,” she says. 
Further down the line came energy audits for those businesses that wanted to move forward. Later on, when it got down to two businesses, both had to do a lot of roof work to prepare for the solar array. “There was a lot for the businesses to figure out,” she says. 
Today, “These businesses are even further invested in their community.”  
Linnes-Robinson is hoping that families that are thinking of turning to solar energy will join business owners on the tour.
Source: Sarah Linnes-Robinson, KFNA
Writer: Anna Pratt
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