John Severson and his wife live in a south Minneapolis home built in 1925, near Lake Hiawatha. Their detached garage, dilapidated and small, was built the same year. As they considered construction of a new garage they wanted it to be able to charge an electric vehicle (EV). “We also thought, why not design a garage that will support a solar array?” said Severson.
Severson did due diligence by contacting a handful of different businesses; he took bids and looked over reviews of companies. “All Energy Solar had good ratings and reviews, and their price was competitive,” said Severson. He also qualified for the Minneapolis Green Cost share program.
In the spring of 2020, All Energy Solar installed a 15-panel array on the south-facing shed roof of a new garage designed specifically for solar. The house has a traditional gable roof and not generally compatible for residential solar power, but three panels could be installed on the south side of each of two dormers.
“We absolutely wanted the garage to be EV compatible. When All Energy said there would be a trench from the garage to the house, I asked if I could lay another PVC pipe on top of theirs and run a 50A service from the house to the garage. They agreed and were very helpful and fluid with that whole process, even including it in the permit they pulled,” said Severson. “We were very happy that All Energy Solar was agreeable with helping me make the garage fully functional for an EV. It made working with them even better.”
So far, the solar panels are working exactly as the Seversons had hoped, and production is as expected. “During the sunny summer months we got credits from Xcel, and now I get a small bill. We were fully consumers of electricity and now we’re generating much of our own,” he said.
The Seversons chose solar because it’s good for the environment. “Climate change is an existential threat to our planet, so anything my wife and I can do, we will do. We are in a financial position to do it and we have a moral obligation to do it,” said Severson. “At our ages we probably won’t realize the full value of the project, nonetheless it is the right thing to do.”