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Solar Skies to close in Alexandria

Solar Skies Manufacturing, a company that opened in Alexandria in 2006 as a pioneering leader in solar technology, is moving out of town. Randy Hagen, president of the company, said the business will shut down locally by the end of next month. Op...

Solar Skies Manufacturing, a company that opened in Alexandria in 2006 as a pioneering leader in solar technology, is moving out of town.

Randy Hagen, president of the company, said the business will shut down locally by the end of next month.
Operations are moving to Massachusetts, where its parent company. HTP, owns a plant.
Solar Skies, located at 106 Donovan Drive where Juno Tool used to be, manufactures solar thermal collectors and mounting hardware.
Hagen cited a lack of business in the Midwest as the reason for the change.
Hagen said that while the state provides $250,000 annually to homes and businesses that install solar thermal technology, millions more in incentives at the federal level are going toward solar electric.
The low price of natural gas has also cut demand for solar thermal energy alternatives, Hagen said.
At one time, Solar Skies employed 17 workers at its Alexandria site but that number has dropped to six. Only two of the remaining workers, including Hagen, are expected to remain with HTP.
In 2013, Solar Skies added a full-plate laser welder, the first and only of its kind in the U.S. It allowed the company to weld copper absorber plates, manufacture full sheet aluminum absorber plates and more.
In a Star Tribune article, Lynn Hinkle, policy director for the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, said he was disappointed that Solar Skies is leaving the state.
“It is tough to lose somebody that we thought was going to grow here,” Hinkle said. “We wish them well. It may not be a good news story for Minnesota, but they are going to stay alive.”

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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