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Roseville-based IPS Solar will begin installing solar arrays next year around the Minnesota State Capitol complex at a cost of about $1.5 million.

The five sites, including one on the so-called Cass Gilbert Hillside that pays homage to the capitol architect and the state’s founding in 1858, only will generate about 2 percent of the power needed to run the multi-building capital complex.

However, Eric Pasi, IPS chief development officer, said the state should save about $87,000 annually on cheaper energy and retire the cost of the project within 15 years.The payback is longer because the state, as a government, does not qualify for tax credits that subsidize projects for private clients by up to 30 percent through 2020.

The state Department of Administration selected IPS as part of a competitive-bidding process.

“We're very proud to be a part of these projects," Pasi said. "IPS Solar… has put down deep roots since 1991. To help the State of Minnesota meet their clean energy goals is very special to us.”

Minnesota ranks among the top five states in annual sales and installation of solar power.

Pasi cited a recent study by Clean Power Research that concluded that Minnesota could achieve 10 percent solar generation of electricity by 2025 at costs comparable to natural gas generation. The report found that expected cost decreases in solar, wind, and storage will enable Minnesota to achieve 70 percent solar and wind by 2050 at costs comparable to natural gas generation.

IPS has grown from 7 to 40 employees since 2014, and employed hundreds of contract workers as revenue grew by 800 percent over the same time period.

Renewable energy, including wind and carbon-cutting energy-efficiency businesses, have been one of the fastest-growing job creators in Minnesota and the nation over the last decade.