Iron Range solar company dubbed ‘Made-in-Minnesota’

range.jpgAfter last year’s somewhat contentious legislative debate over a rebate program for Made-in-Minnesota solar panels, an Iron Range solar manufacturer has become the state’s first certified Minnesota-made solar company.

From Mt. Iron-based Silicon Energy:

October 7, 2013 – St. Paul, MN – Silicon Energy’s locally made solar photovoltaic (PV) modules have been awarded official certification by the Minnesota Department of Commerce as one of the first “Made-In’Minnesota” solar PV systems under Minnesota’s new Solar Energy law. Now, residential and commercial customers of Silicon Energy are eligible for substantial state incentives when they install Silicon Energy’s innovative, world-class Cascade Series solar photovoltaic modules.

“We are so proud to be able to achieve this certification because of our commitment to local manufacturing and bringing high quality products and high tech jobs to Minnesota,” said Gary Shaver, President of Silicon Energy.”This certification by the State Department of Commerce is recognition of our quality and values driven approach to doing business in this great state.”

Shaver further noted that, “With these new state incentives and existing federal tax credits, Minnesota’s residents and businesses now have a compelling economic case to buy high quality, locally manufactured Made in Minnesota Silicon Energy Cascade Series solar modules. Now is the time to go solar.”

The Silicon Energy project has enjoyed a fair amount of local and state subsidy. Critics lament Silicon’s cozy relationship with local legislators (The new streets built connecting the plant to Mountain Iron were named for the state representative and senator who secured initial funding, and company officials are part of the local campaign “fund bundler” circuit). The company has had a bumpy start. Nevertheless, the company’s product has drawn positive attention in the solar world.

It comes down to whether Iron Range solar panels are an economic boon or another in a long line of busts. With so much change in the energy marketplace right now that’s hard to predict.


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