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How a Florida Manufacturers’ Solar Systems Helps Save Lives: Stories Behind the Products

By FloridaMakes Network posted 09-12-2020 00:00

  

Imagine being in the military –– and you’ve been deployed to the middle of the desert and your base suffers a power outage during an attack. The results could be catastrophic. Troops already deal with harsh conditions while in a war zone and being in areas with no direct access to reliable power can exacerbate those conditions for the team. Not having reliable power makes it more challenging to complete missions, stay in touch with commanders and keep the team safe. A company in St. Augustine, FL, manufactures a product that is helping troops avoid deadly situations by “keeping their lights on.”

Solar panels in a desert with wind turbines in the background.

Solar Stik is a power solution company that has been building portable power systems that enable self-sufficiency for the warfighter since 2005. They design, build and deliver portable hybrid-powered solar generators that are then used in remote locations under extreme climate conditions. The systems are modular and scalable, meaning their products can be small enough for one person to carry but can be built up for bigger power output if there are more people or resources to transport the systems.

Solar panels during the winter.

Solar Stik began in the marine industry, where founder Brian Bosley designed rugged, off-grid power solutions for his sailboat. Being successful with creating reliable energy, he received a call from the Middle East and was asked to design a system that the military could use to support their generators on land in rogue areas. Overseas, the power supply is inconsistent and sometimes non-existent –– however, Solar Stik helps solve that issue with their product, which can take in the unregulated spike of power and turn it into consistent power. This is where they fill in the gap allowing military operations to run more efficiently by creating a safer environment for the U.S soldiers.

Group of solar panels near a wall and generator in the desert.

Solar Stik started with two employees, and today has almost 40. They believe in using leading-edge technology, meaning the best available technology that has been tested and confirmed to be usable, as opposed to cutting edge technology, because the business they’re in does not allow for any imperfections. Working with the military, their products have to be designed keeping soldiers’ lives in mind and ensuring their access to power remains stable. Their rugged systems need to be able to respond to temperature swings, extreme weather and even warzone activities, such as taking bullets and absorbing explosions.

Man working outside on solar panels.

Our mission is to reduce fuel usage and save lives,” said George Winsten, a Program Manager at Solar Stik. “Fuel convoys are 50 percent of the military deaths in the Middle East. This means that big convoys of fuel trucks to power the military’s energy source make easy targets for enemies and become a huge risk for our troops.”

Solar Stik also designs rugged batteries for energy storage and power management systems that use smart technology, coding and artificial intelligence to allow for multiple sources of energy using the least amount of fuel as possible.

Hands working on a piece from solar panel.“40 percent of the U.S. power generated is wasted, therefore, the most important energy technology of the future is improving batteries which will improve energy storage,” said Winsten. “Adding battery banks increases efficiency, meaning that more of the generated power can be stored for later use.”

Solar Stik is extremely passionate about philanthropic actions and has designed products for FEMA following disasters. They have also worked with the United Nations to support African countries in facilitating access to the internet and in some cases, electricity for the first time. Recently, in late September of 2017, Solar Stik provided assistance to Puerto Rico after the Hurricane Maria disaster, one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded whose aftermath left the island disconnected from the world and without power. The services Solar Stik offered to Puerto Rico allowed many people to send and receive messages that were critical for the island’s relief efforts to restore operations after the hurricane. They’ve also created a system for the University of Florida’s research facility on Seahorse Key, which has allowed them to cut generator fuel consumption by about three-quarters of its previous usage.

Group of children posing for photo with solar panels.

With recognition from GrowFL as a Top 50 Florida Company to Watch, and ever-increasing battery and energy storage solutions, Solar Stik continues to make a name for themselves and help humanity in Florida and around the world.

For more information about Solar Stik, contact their Business Advisor, Rob Caldwell at rob.caldwell@floridamakes.com or visit their website at www.solarstik.com.


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