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  • Writer's pictureRickey Sipila

Sisu Solar Hometown Focus Article #2

I am the owner of a new solar installation company called Sisu Solar. We Just finished our first year of installing solar panels in northern Minnesota.

This past year Sisu Solar started with no reputation and only one previous client to use as a referral (which was my grandma at her house in Virginia). Simply putting myself and my company on Google was enough to get a large influx of potential customers ringing me up asking for solar panels.

Overall Sisu Solar ended up installing six solar PV systems in the Northland, one each in Virginia, Cherry, Aurora, Cook, Britt and Duluth. In this article I’d like to share two main things: (1) a new Lake Country Power pro-solar policy, and (2) investment information regarding solar PV systems that are installed on the Iron Range.

My timing for starting Sisu Solar was great because the year I started, Lake Country Power created a new policy that would boost the number of solar installations in its area. Before this year, if you had any type of subtractive metering (off-peak, water-heating, dual-fuel, EV charging, etc.), then solar would not be an option for you unless you got rid of your subtractive meters. This made solar unviable for most people.

This year, LCP’s new policy makes it possible to install solar while simultaneously having subtractive meters. The only caveat is that your solar PV system will usually need to be wired directly to your utility pole instead of directly to your breaker box.

We were able to get in on this and install three different systems using this new procedure. Our customers were very happy to be some of the first people to be able to utilize solar and off-peak meters. I’d like to send a big thanks to Lake Country Power for allowing this!

I would also like to show the data for my grandmother’s 8.4kW system (21 solar panels) that has been up for over a year now. She has a system on a south-facing roof, has the panels tilted to a 10/12 pitch (approximately 40 degrees), and has minimal shade issues. In a year these panels have produced 9.6 MWh worth of electricity and her house, which uses gas-heating, has only consumed 5.5MWh of electricity. Her system has produced double the amount of electricity than she uses!

Financially, her system will pay its original investment back in about 11 years. The panels will last at least 30 years, so over the course of the system’s lifetime it will double the investment put in. Electricity prices are consistently going up, adding in solar can help you manage this.

If you or anyone you know is interested in solar and simply would like to learn more about it and have all your questions answered.

Sisu Solar is happy to teach you, your family or friends about solar and its benefits in northern Minnesota.

Rickey Sipila lives in Britt. He can be reached at

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