With renewable energy expected to be the fastest growing source of U.S. electricity generation for at least the next two years, local solar installer REAL Solar is happy to be contributing to the country's energy mix.
REAL Solar was recognized by Solar Power World magazine for its installation efforts, achieving a rank of 295 out of 415 solar companies on the magazine's 2019 Top Solar Contractors list.
“In 2016, we were ranked #471. In 2017, we were ranked #386. And now, we’re ranked #295,” Erica Bjelland, program development specialist with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance in Backus, said in a news release. “We were also ranked as the number 1 residential solar installer in Minnesota.”
The Top Solar Contractors list is developed by Solar Power World to recognize the work completed by solar contractors across the United States. Produced annually, the Top Solar Contractors list celebrates the achievements of U.S. solar developers, subcontractors and installers within the utility, commercial and residential markets, and ranks contractors by kilowatts installed in the previous year.
The U.S. solar market is expected to see 14% growth in 2019, with over 12 GW of new solar power added to the grid this year - enough to power 2.28 million average American homes. This increase in installations is attributed to strong residential solar interest and a rush to get projects in before the 30% federal investment tax credit steps down to 26% next year.
REAL Solar employs 15 workers who installed 1.06 megawatts of solar power in 2018. Since its founding in 2000, the company has installed 2.2 megawatts of solar. Previously, REAL Solar and its parent, RREAL, were two sides of the same organization, but this year RREAL and REAL Solar became separate organizations to ensure they could more efficiently achieve their mission.
RREAL is a nonprofit dedicated to making solar energy accessible to low-income communities and REAL Solar is a for-profit special benefits corporation dedicated to making solar accessible to all people. A portion of the proceeds to REAL Solar continue to go toward RREAL’s low-income solar projects.
“We’re excited to continue developing low-income residential and community solar projects for years to come. It’s a very exciting time for solar energy and nonprofit advocacy,” Bjelland said.