The MagazineMarketplaceEventsResourcesNewsContact

Brighter Than the Sun

By December, Twin Town Guitars will be a solar-powered music retailer.

The Minneapolis combo dealership recently kicked off the Sunburst Project. Approximately 100 solar panels, measuring 40 by 50 inches each, will be installed on the store's roof. Generating 280 watts each, the solar panels are projected to cover 100 percent of the store's electric energy expense and will also benefit other businesses in the building.

"We are thrilled to see this project come to light," said Andrew Bell, owner of Twin Town Guitars. "An extra bonus is that the solar panels are manufactured locally, in Bloomington, [Minn.,] by TenKsolar and will be installed by Sundial Solar, located in Minneapolis."

Twin Town Guitars received state and federal grants for the Sunburst Project, as well as financing and installation through Sundial Solar and support from the Kingfield Neighborhood Association's Solarize Kingfield project. The dealership's electric company, Xcel Energy, also provided a matching grant.

According to Bell, the cost of his company's 30-kilowatt system is projected to be roughy $275,000 with installation and hardware, and he expects the system to pay for itself in two and a half years.

"Our installer found us private lending that is basically a bridge loan for the bulk of the cost," he said. "We're on a two-year payback after that on the remainder.

"I hope that we can be an example for other stores or brick-and-mortal building owners to see an additional revenue stream to offset the cost of energy. We hope to turn our $400 monthly electrical bill into a wash and then have it become positive cash flow." MI

— Reporting by Zach Phillips