As a recognized solar industry pioneer, Gary is 2008 and 2009 President of CALSEIA - the California Solar Energy Association - and a board member of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility and Build It Green - using his three decades of knowledge to grow the solar industry for all companies.
Gary Gerber | Sun Light & Power
1 - What engineering challenges have you faced with projects over the years?
2 - How is the rate of growth for solar installations for commercial buildings comparing with the growth of residential solar?
4 - What industries and businesses are the next growth area for solar installations?
5 - What about Solar Water Heating (SWH) systems in commercial settings --- are they growing too?
6 - What are your thoughts on why solar is such an important source of alternative energy?
Of course, all forms of renewable energy are needed in the mix if we are to succeed in turning around the Titanic that is Global Climate Disruption. But solar is the most widely-distributed and plentiful renewable power source on the planet. At current PV module efficiencies, the average home in California has enough roof space to provide all of the home’s energy needs from solar alone. On top of that, solar energy is most available right when it is most needed – during the peak hot hours of the day. PV equipment has virtually no moving parts, so the durability and reliability of the average PV system far surpasses most other renewable energy sources.
7 - What have been the most important changes over the past 33 years to support the growth of solar energy in the U.S.?
8 - What do you think we are in store for in the next 5 -10 years as far as solar is concerned?
While sales of solar installations boom in California and the U.S. it wasn’t so easy selling a solar hot-water system back in 1976.
Gary Gerber, founder of Sun Light and Power in Berkeley, CA had to walk around with a piece of black tubing from a hose, fill it up with water, place it in the sun on the lawn and show prospective customers that, yes, indeed, the heat from the sun could heat water.
33 years later, the founder of one of the first solar company in California continues to walk the talk, taking steps to make his company as “green” and environmentally-friendly as possible.
Along with rapid growth in their solar energy installations for homeowners and businesses, the company uses biodiesel for their boiler and trucks –once a month they receive a 500-gallon delivery of biodiesel, stored in a tank and used to fuel their trucks.
Gary has an electric vehicle, virtually everything in the office is recycled – even his watch is solar powered.
Sun Light and Power’s office walls are painted with odor-free paint, the carpet is 100% wool and their annex walls are recycled wood from neighborhood businesses. Recycled sunroom glass forms their conference room table; the carpet is made of recycled soda-bottles. Some of the furniture comes from the UC-Berkeley salvage building, across the street.
Since they’re in the solar business they have a 7-kilowatt solar power system installed on the roof, generating power and selling excess, unused power into the PG&E grid.
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