Project Inspiration: Solar Panel Installation
Nordic Ware is the proud American manufacturer of kitchenware, most notable of which is the Bundt pan, invented in 1950 by its co-founder, Dave Dalquist. Though their products are found all over the globe, the family owned and operated business continues to thrive just outside of Minneapolis, MN.
During the height of the pandemic, Nordic Ware saw a huge boom in product sales, and quickly expanded their manufacturing facilities to meet the demand.
One of Cedar Creek Energy’s Project Developers, Erin Harvey, saw an article in the Star Tribune about their expansion that included mention of Nordic Ware’s sustainability goals. Knowing the company just built a new facility, Erin reached out to extend Cedar Creek Energy as a solar partner in their sustainability goals. Nordic Ware was immediately receptive to the idea of solar energy to help fuel their massive facilities, and connected us with Greiner Construction Inc., the commercial contractors of their new facility.
“We chose to work with Cedar Creek Energy because of the ease of communication, response time, and pricing. They clarified things and made them easy to understand, and the installation process went very well.”
— Senior Project Manager, Greiner Construction
Nordic Ware Expansion Switch to Solar Panels Systems
Greiner Construction was exploring renewable energy options for the building as Nordic Ware is the largest power user in the St. Louis Park area. While they were extremely interested in solar, they were hesitant to build an array on the new building’s roof. Even though a solar installation does not affect a roof warranty, we worked with Greiner Construction to design an array that would be mounted on the south-facing side of the building.
Cedar Creek Energy custom designed and installed this wall mounted array with careful consideration for doors, windows, and the pre-existing signage on the building. We were able to offer Nordic Ware American manufactured solar panels, which was important to the company as they are also an American-based manufacturer.
This type of project was the first of its kind for Cedar Creek Energy and went smoothly from start to finish. Communication between parties was efficient, and installation was performed quickly and without any snags. We were also able help Nordic Ware claim Minnesota’s PV Demand Credit, an incentive for commercial and industrial Xcel Energy customers who can lower their electricity usage during peak demand hours.
The Final Result: Nordic Ware Expansion Solar Panel Installation by Cedar Creek Energy
While their solar investment only offers a 1% energy offset, Nordic Ware is extremely pleased with the results of the array and are already working towards further solar expansion. Bearing in mind the energy usage at this facility is incredibly high due to their metalwork and powerful machinery, a 1% energy offset means that annually, hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon emissions are avoided due to the use of renewable energy.
The side mounted panels were initially a functional choice, but the company now enjoys the fact that anyone driving or walking along the bridge nearby can see the panels prominently and proudly displayed next to the Nordic Ware logo. They feel the array offers a visual representation of their commitment to green initiatives.
The most unique aspect of this project is certainly the 90-degree tilt of the panels as a result of being mounted on the side of the building as opposed to the rooftop, which is typically closer to a 10-degree tilt. Because of this positioning, this array’s peak energy production will not be in the usual summer months, but during the spring and fall seasons, as the position of the sun in Minnesota is lower in the sky in the south. This system went live in March 2022 and has already outpaced Cedar Creek Energy’s summer production estimates.
Cedar Creek Energy had the pleasure of interviewing David Dalquist, Nordic Ware’s CEO and president, and son of Nordic Ware founders, Dave and Dorothy Dalquist. We worked closely with David and his team on this project.
Why did Nordic Ware choose to look into solar?
We believe renewable energy will continue to be one of our nation’s energy sources into the future. Nordic Ware wanted to learn first-hand how productive and cost-effective solar energy was and our latest building expansion offered us the opportunity to do just that.
Does Nordic Ware have sustainability goals?
Nordic Ware, together with the customers who buy our products, strive be good citizens and stewards of the environment. We task ourselves and are further tasked by our customers with continually reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing our kitchenware products.
How did you choose to move forward with Cedar Creek Energy?
We had a somewhat unique opportunity to mount our array on a tall vertical south facing wall that was mostly free of shadows. The advantages of wall mounting the array is that it would self-clean with rain and be unaffected by snowfall, both of which promised to improve the panels performance. Other suppliers could only do roof mounted arrays. Cedar Creek was willing to develop a creative wall mount system that coincidently transformed a simple factory wall into a beautiful glass structure.
How did you feel about the installation process with Cedar Creek?
It went well without delays or problems. We have experienced no downtime on the array either.
How do you feel now about the array’s performance and incentives that are available with the array?
So far, the array’s performance is very encouraging. We will continue to monitor it through the winter months when the lower sun angles will actually be more beneficial on a vertical mount like ours. I especially enjoy looking at the “My Solar Edge” app each day to see how much energy we are producing. According to the app, in the first 5 months since the array came online, we have saved 71,180 lbs. of CO2 emissions which is equivalent to planting 538 trees!
Any roadblocks, last minute changes or particular challenges that were met?
When we saw how beautiful the array made the building look, we asked Cedar Creek to change their design to accommodate a large sign we now wanted to add because we were proud of the new look our building had taken on. They accommodated our 11th hour request without a complaint.