Getting it Done with the Sun

Remember the dog days of last summer? The sun beat down on your car’s interior which eventually turned your leather seats into scorching hot leather frying pans. You know how the interior of your car felt like an oven? It happens every summer.

As you noticed the neighbor’s children melting in the heat waves of their driveways, you start to wonder, “If only we could capture this energy to help heat and cool our homes by using the sun’s power.”

It seems like such a waste to let that huge source of energy go untapped and unused. Remember how we were promised during the 1970s energy crisis how alternative energy sources were being developed? Well, the reality was very different from the dream. Solar power technology is not ready to be used as a stable and viable source of energy to heat and cool our homes and buildings. Or so I thought, until I ran into an old friend over the holidays.

We were discussing each other’s businesses when my friend, Rich Aleo from Brisk Solar, started telling me how he was getting business done with the sun on three continents and selling solar power at the retail level. As he was talking, my natural skepticism crept into my line of questioning.

I asked Rich what had changed that makes his product a viable and sustainable solution for solar power. He said, “Brisk Solar has developed solar panels that are about 48 in. by 30 in. and can generate 235 watts on an overcast day, and a bit more on a sunny day. If you take 235 watts and divide by 5 kilowatts, this determines how many panels you would need. So you would need 5 kilowatts to run an average size home.”

Many of the panels are placed on homes and buildings in discreet locations that are not visible from the street, or they can be installed on-site at grade level in a remote location. Interestingly, many people wear their solar panels as a badge of honor. They choose to display their panels to their friends and neighbors to show the world that they are committed to being green and reducing their energy consumption.

As the conversation continued the subject of how to store collected solar energy was next on my list of questions. I asked how many batteries were required to store enough energy to run an average home. His answer took me by surprise. He said there are no batteries required with this system. (“No batteries” are words that parents can really appreciate after the holidays!) He explained their process.

Think of your solar collection panels as a bank. During the day your roof is collecting energy all day long with or without the sun. Rich explained, “During the daylight hours the system is designed to collect more power than the home requires, which allows the system to send the unused power to the electric company. Once the system stops collecting energy it will automatically switch over to the power company and will start to use the energy that has been banked at the power company all day.”

He went on to say solar technology is now a stable, viable and reliable source of energy for homeowners and business owners for the foreseeable future. With the government’s 30 percent rebate plan and state tax credits, the return on the investment could be between 10 to 12 years. This means if people invested today they could be enjoying free electricity in short order.

I have had my eyes opened to the possibility of integrating solar technology into our lives through innovative ideas and products that reduce our energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprints. From a design point of view we design/builders have a fiduciary responsibility to provide our clients with viable energy options that have a local and global impact on the environment.

From a business point of view I believe that this could be more than just another home improvement product to install in your client’s home or business. I believe that the founders, engineers and scientists of Brisk Solar have creatively refined the evolution of getting it done with the sun.

That makes sense!

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