Minnetonka resident Dean Leischow used his 26 years of experience in the solar and optimization industry to co-found Sunrise Energy Ventures with Richard Cathcart in 2009. “I looked at what was happening with the big [alternative energy] initiative under the Obama administration, and was encouraged to do something,” says Leischow, who is the CEO.
The company, which has its office in Minnetonka, sells solar power to residents who might not be able to purchase or install their own solar panels. “Residents can subscribe to be powered by solar; it’s roofless solar.” Leischow says. Sunrise Energy Ventures works with landowners to purchase or lease property; they also work with community solar gardens.
Leischow is a proponent of making renewable energy an efficient and economic option for the world. As technology improves, renewable energy is “getting better and cheaper. Economics [are] going to drive renewable energy; the cheapest energy is now being delivered by wind and solar,” says Leischow.
Despite uncertain funding for renewable energy under the current federal administration, Leischow and Sunrise Energy Ventures are optimistic. The company is expanding to Oregon, Maryland and New Mexico, and is even opening an office in Canada. “It’s free energy from the sun, everyone has access to it, and, with time, renewable energy is just going to get better,” Leischow says.