Fuel For Industry
A Vision For The Future
“In planning for being around for 100 years, solar was a great investment. Not only for the short term, but long term for the future,” Lance Louis says on the floor of Louis Industries, a steel processing and manufacturing company located in Paynesville, Minnesota.
As a third generation family-owned business, the team at Louis Industries knows the value of maintaining a strong vision for the future in the competitive steel manufacturing industry. Lance recently took over the business from his father Leo, who purchased the Louis Blacksmith Shop from his father Alfred in 1973 and turned Louis Industries into the 50-employee business it is today.
"We’ve always been ahead of what’s happening out there – constantly building and growing with our customers."
Leo Louis, Louis Industries
Sun Powered Steel
In 2015, Louis Industries installed a 1,200 panel, 500 kilowatt solar array on the roof of their facility. The panels cover nearly an acre of roof space and produce 625,000-kilowatt hours of energy annually – enough to power 60 homes for an entire year. “We’ve always been ahead of what’s happening out there – constantly building and growing with our customers,” says Leo Louis. “We didn’t do this because we were forced to, we’ve just been doing what fits our business.”
Today, the panels produce about 60% of the power Louis Industries uses for its manufacturing operations. Additionally, the company sells excess energy they generate back to Xcel. “We’re a huge power consumer. For us to stabilize power at a 2014 rate for the next 20 to 25 years was phenomenal,” Lance explains.
Louis Industries will maintain 2014 energy rates for 25 years.
Louis Industries' solar panels could power 60 homes each year.
A Growing Trend
Louis Industries joins a growing number of manufacturing businesses in Minnesota that have turned to solar power to meet their energy needs. The choice to go solar makes sense for industrial business . The average factory in the United States consumes 95.1 kilowatt-hours of electricity per square foot – 10 times the amount of electricity used in the typical American home.
Manufacturing facilities are normally constructed with large, flat square or rectangular roofs in areas without tree or building coverage, making them ideal sites for solar panels. “If we were approached to do solar again, we’d definitely do it in a heartbeat,” Lance continues. “We’ve hosted several other companies considering solar. They see the value in the investment, not only for today but for the future.”