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September Speaker Series

  • Mayflower Church 106 East Diamond Lake Road Minneapolis, MN, 55419 United States (map)

Honored to Be of Service: The Red Lake Solar Project

In 2016 my company, IPS Solar, was hired to conduct a feasibility study for the Red Lake Nation to end the community’s dependence on coal-based electric power, and to replace it with renewable energy. When the original financing fell through, I became the financer, using a crowd-funding approach. Given my lifelong interest in Native American issues and culture, it is a great honor that my career now allows me to contribute to a Green New Deal in Indian Country! The Project intersects with state energy policy goals, as this may be one of the largest early deployments of commercial-scale solar plus storage in Minnesota.

About the Speaker:


Ralph Jacobson


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While earning his Bachelor of Science in Materials Science (Minnesota, 1989), Ralph developed a strong interest in photovoltaics. He decided that somebody needed to get out there and figure out how to get it safely set onto buildings, so in 1991, he founded Innovative Power Systems ( and got into the business of designing and installing PV power systems. There being practically no market for solar in Minnesota, the “technical hat” had to share a spot on his head with a “marketing hat” (ouch!). The first ten years was spent building custom designs which utilized a variety of storage and control schemes in a mostly off-grid solar industry.

In his 20-year service on the board of directors of the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, Jacobson initiated events such as the MN Solar Boat Regatta, the MN Solar Home Tour, and public classes on solar energy. More recently, he served as the founding president of the MN Solar Energy Industries Association. He is currently engaged in pioneering the market for energy storage in the Minnesota and more engagement with people of color in the local industry.

Earlier Event: August 22
State Fair Eco Experience
Later Event: October 5
MRES Sustainable Home Tour