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Since we started experimenting with solar power in 2009, Deep Portage has installed more than a dozen systems, including both photovoltaic panels and solar heating units. We’ve tried out a range of manufacturers and types of models, rooftop mounts, dual-axis trackers, and even double-sided panels that use the reflection of sunlight off of the snow! Our experience with these models makes Deep Portage a superb resource for those curious about installing their own solar panels. You can learn more about our solar installations below, or by stopping by to talk with our knowledgeable staff.

Solar Electricity

Solar Electricity

Solar Classroom

  • Installed June 2011 by RREAL (Pine River, MN)

  • Made in Mexico from U.S. components.

  • 8 Kilowatts at peak power. The system is two-sided, with 6 kw from the top side and an additional 2 kw from bottom (reflected solar from white rocks and snow)

  • $88,000 investment, funded by U.S. Department of Energy grant.


Backyard Array 

  • Installed August 2023 by Champion Solar (Minnesota City, MN) 

  • 18.0 kilowatts at peak power. The system is connected directly into DPLC system, with surplus sold back to the grid.

  • Arrays will produce an average of over 21,700 kWh of energy per year and with the 30 year warranties, that equates to a reduction of over 300 tons of carbon emissions.

  • Over $100,000 of electricity will be saved over the same 30 year period.

  • $60,000 investment, funded by the Deep Portage Foundation.


Backyard Array

  • Installed October 2012 by Empowered Energy Systems (Hotchkiss, CO) and Trosen Electric (Hackensack, MN).

  • Made by Sharp, and manufactured in Tennessee.

  • 18.0 kilowatts at peak power. The system is connected directly into DPLC system, with surplus sold back to the grid.

  • $40,000 investment, funded by Deep Portage Foundation campaign.

Remote Solar Array

  • Two free-standing solar arrays installed in 2010 at the Deep Portage maintenance yard.

  • 660 watt array, funded by the Deep Portage Foundation, provides electricity for the archery classroom.

  • 2 kilowatt array, funded by the Deep Portage Foundation and the family of Bud Smith, a former DPLC Trustee, is grid-tied and helps to offset our monthly energy costs. It is affectionately nicknamed "The Bud" in his honor.

  • Total investment of $16,000.

Reflective Array

  • 6.5 kilowatts at peak power.

  • Installed June 2015

  • South-facing photo-voltaic panels generate electricity, while the north-facing reflective panels reflect sunlight to the next PV panel during the summer when the sun is high in the sky.

  • Built by tenKsolar

"The Teedee"

Dual Axis Tracker

  • 3.5 kilowatts at peak power.

  • This panel adjusts its pitch and rotates from east to west throughout the day to track the sun.

  • Dual axis tracking makes this 30-40% more efficient than stationary panels.

  • Named in honor of Teedee Ludwig, a longtime DPLC trustee.

Cabin Array

  • These panels provide electricity for staff housing and summer camp facilities. 

  • 6.85 kilowatts at peak power.

  • Built by SolarWorld

  • Unlike most of our panels, which face directly south, this one faces southeast due to site limitations 

Tiny House Array

  • This panel provides electricity for our tiny house, which is used for staff housing.

  • Off-grid.

  • 250 watt panels

Solar Heating

Solar Heating

Solar Hot Water

  • Re-designed and re-installed July 2014 by Grant Brekke Plumbing (Minnetonka, MN), Jim Balenthin (Backus, MN), and friends.

  • Evacuated Tubes manufactured in Ireland. Frame manufactured in Brainerd, MN.

  • 500 gallons of hot water per day at peak (80% of our needs at full capacity).

  • $86,000 investment, funded by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR–Lottery Funds).

Passive Solar Furnaces

  • Manufactured and installed in June 2011 by RREAL (Pine River, MN).

  • The furnaces are large boxes that harness solar energy to heat air.

  • 40% of the winter heating needs of classrooms 1 and 2 are supplied by the solar furnaces.

  • $5,500 investment, funded by the Deep Portage Foundation.

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