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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Functional Art Solar Project in Uptown Minneapolis

Courtesy of All Energy Solar

Solar installations on commercial buildings are more common these days as companies seek alternative energy solutions, but few are highly visible and even less make a statement with their presence alone.

When commercial real estate developer The Ackerberg Group broke ground on an Uptown Minneapolis project adjacent to its MoZaic West development, the team knew it wanted to continue the youthful, creative theme established by MoZaic West’s bold features, which included installed art and an outdoor art park. Ackerberg complemented the new building’s artistic features on the exterior by adding an innovative and unique solar array to the building’s facade.

All Energy Solar, in St. Paul, designed and installed the system, featuring panels angled off the building’s south elevation at varying degrees, creating a wave pattern. All Energy fabricated a custom bracket (capable of holding panels in seven different positions) to create the unique, fluid, three-dimensional and abstract design. In a high profile uptown location, the eight-story office building announces its identity unmistakably: innovative, future-focused and welcoming.

“Traditional solar projects are likely found in a rural field or on large, flat building roofs, but this solar project is anything but traditional,” states Mike Munson of Ackerberg Group. “Contrary to tradition, we instead envisioned an artful, colorful solar demonstration on MoZaic East’s southern façade. With grant funds for a highly visible and innovative solar strategy and a creative partner in All Energy, we were able to bring this vision to life.”

Searching for design ways to adjust traditional solar aesthetics to enhance MoZaic East, All Energy Solar introduced Ackerberg to a new product—SolarSkin—from Boston-based Sistine Solar. This patented translucent film can be imprinted with graphics and adhered to solar panels but is transparent enough to allow the sun’s rays to produce power.

“This was an exciting and creative project that Sistine Solar was proud to be a core part of,” shares Senthil Balasubramanian, CEO and founder of Sistine Solar. “All Energy Solar approached us with the task of fully customizable aesthetics designed to last several years, maintain high efficiency of the solar array and seamlessly integrate onto their preferred choice of panels. As the world’s only solar technology that is 100 percent customizable in color and graphics, SolarSkin checked all those boxes.”

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