St. Paul-based All Energy Solar, the designer and installer of solar-power systems for homes and businesses in six states, has moved to a larger location in St. Paul’s Energy Park industrial-commercial area that is three times its previous space a couple miles away.

“[We] look forward to hiring even more members of our community,” said All Energy President Michael Allen, 36, who owns the 10-year-old company with his brother.

The company said sales have risen by more than 20% annually for five years. The 135-employee firm will add as many as 40 workers this year.

“The majority of the positions we are hiring for are solar installers who make in the high $40,000 range to $60,000,” he said. “Our journeymen electricians are making in the low-90s to more than $100,000 a year.”

Allen said he expects to install systems on 1,000 buildings this year, up from 700 last year, including homes, businesses, farms and schools.

Solar energy provides an estimated 2% or less of Minnesota energy.

It has received a boost as price has declined and proposals by Gov. Tim Walz and Xcel Energy to provide 100% “carbon-free” electrical energy, including wind and nuclear by 2050.

Coal still leads in Minnesota electrical generation, around 40%. That is down from 66% over the past decade.

Wind power has grown to about 20% and natural gas also has grown.

Minnesota electrical power from renewable energy grew from 6% to 25% since 2000, according to a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Clean Energy Economy Minnesota.

The study found that wind is the state’s cheapest source of new electricity.

Neal St. Anthony

Manufacturing

Construction begins on $16.4 million expansion of Alexandria Industries plant

Alexandria Industries is breaking ground on a major construction project that will expand its aluminum-extrusion plant by 19,000 square feet.

The $16.4 million project includes the addition of a new aluminum-extrusion press manufactured by the Italian firm Presezzi Extrusion Group, company officials announced Tuesday.

With it, central Minnesota-based Alexandria Industries will increase its extrusion capabilities by 30%; work with harder alloys; produce more complex products; and manufacture orders for customers that have tighter tolerances.

The company will add 14 jobs.

“By combining the latest in aluminum extrusion technology with the best employees, we will continue to lead our industry,” said Alexandria CEO Tom Schabel. “The new system will provide robust extruded aluminum components for our customers … and continued business growth.”

Alexandria Industries employs about 575 workers, mostly in the city of Alexandria.

Dee DePass

Philanthropy

$2.5M Habitat for Humanity project to add 11 homes in St. Paul’s North End

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity broke ground last week on 11 homes on once-polluted industrial land in St. Paul’s North End neighborhood that will house working-class families who will not pay more than 30% of their household income monthly on long-term mortgages.

The $2.5 million project, which took two years to develop including pollution remediation of what was once an unregulated dump, is Habitat’s biggest core-city project this year.

Twin Cities Habitat, benefiting from an expanding subsidized mortgage program with Bremer Bank and other efforts to raise capital, expects to help more than 100 families get into a new or refurbished home this year.

Habitat has nearly doubled its annual housing production over the last several years, thanks largely to the multiyear partnership with Bremer, valued at nearly $100 million.

The 11 St. Paul homes near Willow Reserve benefited from $700,000 from federal and local governments to clean up the site.

Ecolab provided $250,000 to construct a public alley, stormwater retention pond and sewer and water connections.

Habitat said 90% of Habitat home buyers are minority families, which helps to close the racial gap in homeownership.

The primary sponsors for the first four homes are Ecolab, Thrivent Financial, Wells Fargo and Women Build.

Dozens of volunteers, as well as the prospective owners, will work on the project.

Neal St. Anthony