Local company will revolutionize the solar industry.
Keeping your equipment charged just got more sustainable. Vroom Solar has developed and updated solar kits that will revolutionize the solar industry.
The kits are ready to be added to cargo containers or trailers, shipping containers and box trucks, so your tools or equipment can easily recharge while sitting idle inside.
The portable aspect was inspired from Founder and CEO Luke Phelps’ work with agriculture. That experience of watching individuals hop from job site to job site and needing constantly powered equipment made him question how to do things better and capitalize on the sun’s value to make things grow – or go.
“For that target market,” explained Katherine Benson, community relations coordinator at Vroom Solar, “they’re using it during daylight hours and they need it to be portable.”
These kits save users time (since equipment will recharge on the go) and money (since there are fewer batteries to buy and less electricity costs for charging).
Beyond the agricultural industry, though, Vroom Solar now has the ability to provide off-grid power to campsites, hunting cabins or spaces you store your recreational vehicles.
“He did it to be convenient, portable and mobile,” Benson said.
It’s also adaptable for a roof or ground mount if needed as a backup power source in another small space, like a shed or garage. In extreme cases of weather, your solar powered shed could act as a generator – at least enough to maintain electricity to important items like refrigerators and freezers.
Another motivation for adding a solar panel to your shed? Tax credits.
“You can literally convert the roof of your outdoor shed to a solar panel system, which allows a 40% tax credit on the entire shed,” Phelps said.
When Phelps was doing research about the installation of solar power sources, he discovered that the current process was pretty complex.
“James Bartley (Vroom Solar Chief Technology Officer) and I both had our electrical licenses, and after a week of training, we were still scratching our heads on how to do the programming for current solar systems,” Phelps said. “It’s overly complicated.”
He also saw room for improvement: all the power was being stored in a battery, rather than a device directly.
Phelps and Bartley decided to change that and improve systems so that more people could benefit and use solar power more easily.
“Our system is bypassing the batteries completely and doing a load management system,” Phelps said. “All you have to do is plug the panels together. If you can put the battery into the smoke alarm, you can plug these panels together.”
“I didn’t realize that you can’t go down to the hardware store right now and buy a solar anything,” Benson said.
But that’s exactly what Vroom Solar is doing – simplifying solar to make it more accessible.
“Point your panels at the sunlight and then all the different applications that are coming out of that are just tremendous,” Phelps said.
Providing options - one kit at a time
What’s really important to Vroom Solar, though, is that they’re helping people. In case this isn’t clear enough through their innovative work, they’ve also set the company up as a social enterprise. They give one solar kit away for every 25 sold, providing the technology and sustainably solution to areas that might not otherwise ever take advantage.
“The give back program is incredibly important to us because electricity changes people’s lives,” Phelps said, listing schools, underserved communities or nonprofits among those that will benefit.
In cases of natural disasters, these kits can prove to be essential in the aftermath.
“Power production is just crucial,” Phelps said. “You can send in all sorts of gas generators and batteries, but at some point, they’re going to need recharging or gas stations to refuel. In a natural disaster situation, you can send in all the batteries you want, but eventually they run out without recharging.”
That’s where these solar kits shine.
Missouri SBDC at MSU provides essential help
Phelps says the Missouri Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University has been a light in the dark for identifying resources, funding and providing answers through this startup phase.
“Sandra (Smart) has been making tons of connections for us,” Phelps said, “helping with funding or resources on international trade and all those different things. She’s been just extremely valuable in supporting the company and helping point us in the right direction.”
Vroom Solar is changing the solar industry, and they’re also the first solar manufacturer to call Missouri home.