Larry Grimstad, Founder, Decorah Solar Field
Larry Grimstad is retired from banking after being a community bank president for 25 years in Decorah, Iowa. He began a new career experimenting with sustainability projects. In 2000 he and his wife began a sustainable farming operation and built a net zero CO2 home using sustainable materials. A small wind turbine and a sun tracking solar array power the home and farm.
His experimentation continued in 2008 when he joined a partner to construct a utility scale wind turbine in north central Iowa that provided power for a small community. Then in 2012 and 2015 he built solar arrays totaling 1.1 MW named plat capacity on the campus of Luther College in Decorah. As an investor, he is considering these projects short-term even though they are long-term assets. He sold his investment in the wind turbine project after government incentives expired to his partner and the college has the option to buy the solar arrays at fair market value after his tax incentives have expired.
Larry has worked with local electricians to become solar installers and his bank to create financing that matches the cash flow and cost savings. He also works with the local energy district to promote locally owned distributed generation. Decorah claims to have the largest concentration of solar power per capita of any community in the continental U.S. and it is all locally owned.