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Innovative Power Systems

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Innovative Power Systems was founded in 1991 by Ralph Jacobson. They provide solar services to homeowners and businesses in the state of Minnesota. Additionally, they have been Minnesota's #1 solar provider since 1991 and they have been in the Solar Power World's top 250 solar contractors three years in a row.

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The Good

  • Community Solar Gardens
  • Reputable Associations

Community Solar Gardens

Innovative Power Systems with Xcel Energy are now providing the residents and businesses in the counties of: Washington, Hennepin, Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Ramsey, Scott, Rice, Dodge, Winona, Wright, Sherburne, Nicollet, Blue Earth, Goodhue, Wabasha and Le Sueur with a Community Solar Garden option. This is perfect for those who don't have the ideal sun exposure at their location, don't own their roof or simply don't want a solar array on their home or building, but still want to save money on their energy costs. The Community Solar Garden option works like a membership and allows ratepayers to subscribe to a portion of the solar production from the various properties located around the states. Every month the community garden members will earn bill credits (that will offset electricity costs) that are proportionate to their subscription share for 25 years. Any excess will then be paid back to the garden for maintenance and deferred financing fees. This is all part of the 2013 Minnesota Solar Jobs Act.

Reputable Associations

Fortunately, Innovative Power Systems has partnered some great Associations to give the confidence and peace of mind provided by their involvement with such. Innovative Power System is North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), is a Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) member, Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association (CMMA), National Brotherhood of Electricians Local Union 292, Minnesota Chief Engineers Build, MnSEIA and the Midway Chamber of Commerce.

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The Bad

  • Very Few Payment Options
  • Lack of Transparency
  • No Mention of Their Terms of Service

Very Few Payment Options

Innovative Power Systems only provides their residential customers with one payment option, which is a finance option. Most solar companies offer a few more payment options which usually include some or all of the following: lease option, purchase power agreement (PPA) and/or an outright purchase. Innovative Power Systems probably does offer an outright purchase option; however, it's not mentioned on their website. With that being said, Innovative Power Systems does offer their commercial customers two different payment options which are a lease option and a finance option, including Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

Lack of Transparency

Unfortunately, Innovative Power Systems doesn't provide their potential customers with several pieces of vital information. For example, they should be telling you if they offer a monitoring system with their solar packages and if so, does their system include monitoring for production, usage or both. Additionally, they should also let you know if they offer any type of moving services and if so, who pays for them, should you ever need to replace your roof. If they don't, this service could be expensive and is something you should consider before signing any solar contract.

No Mention of Their Terms of Service

Another question left unanswered is their terms of service, such as how long their contracts are and what types of warranties they offer. Most solar providers offer a variety of warranties which usually include one or more of the following: a workmanship warranty, manufacturer's warranty and sometimes an inverter warranty. If you are going to pay a significant amount of money for something, it's imperative that you understand what warranties are offered and if they are sufficient for the term of your particular contract.

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The Bottom Line

Innovative Power Systems appears to be a reputable solar services provider. They have great customer feedback on Google. In addition, they have been in business for 25 years and still don't reflect any negative feedback, even after all those years, so they must be doing something right. However, for a company who has been in business for 25 years, their website is a bit lacking when it comes to being totally transparent about their terms of service, warranties and whether or not they offer system monitoring. Other than that, we don't see any reason to believe they don't offer excellent products and services; therefore, we have no problem giving them a good recommendation.

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