Sun Storage, a Joseph-based solar energy company, was among a select group of businesses featured in the second annual Sustainable Energy pavilion at the 2009 Oregon State Fair, held recently in Salem.
LOCAL BUSINESS ON DISPLAY: Oregon State fairgoers visit the display set up by Sun Storage of Joseph. The business, owned by Jonathan Monschke and Louis Perry, builds solar array packages and markets them nationwide. Submitted photo
Sun Storage joined its photovoltaic panel supplier, SolarWorld, in representing solar energy at the popular exhibit.
Prominent among the broad variety of technology booths, the solar energy exhibit was a go-to site for those interested in solar power for on- or off-grid application.Thousands of visitors stopped by, curious about solar energy and drawn by the visual appeal of the booth’s information area, which was sheltered by a Sun Storage ground-mount solar array.
Sun Storage was established in 2008, carving a national presence among the premier renewable and sustainable energy providers from a state known for energy innovation.
Business partners Jonathan Monschke and Louis Perry selected SolarWorld as supplier of their photovoltaic panels.
This mutually beneficial relationship has been a positive business alliance for both entities.
The company’s pre-engineered ground-mount solar array systems brought something new to the industry: the patented design captures solar energy while at the same time offering a useable space below the array, which can be purposed for auto or equipment storage, livestock shelter, stabling, patio or dock shade, or even enclosed for a weatherproof structure.
Monschke said he fielded thousands of questions about solar energy during the 11-day fair.
“It was so exciting to see the level of interest in solar energy. People are really interested in renewable energy, and solar is clean and simple and really versatile,” he said.
Ross Rooper, who also represented Sun Storage at the event, said he too was happy with the level of interest shown.
“We had visitors with questions about solar for private homes, for businesses, for horse stables and farms, and even questions about covered parking for golf courses and hospitals,” he said.
He added that the ground-mount arrays, consisting of frame and racking, panels and an inverter, drew attention because of all the ways people can use the space below the arrays while generating power with those structures.
Monschke said many visitors were surprised at how affordable a solar system can be.
“Our state is one of the most progressive in the country in promoting renewable energy, so existing incentives and credits make it a great time to look into it,” he said.
Monschke said the company recently contracted for several exciting international projects, though it takes pride in planting roots in Oregon.
Sun Storage uses Oregon components and suppliers — like Hillsboro-based photovoltaic giant SolarWorld — whenever possible.
Their business development consultant, Renewable Energy Solutions, is in nearby Enterprise.
“These facilities all provide valuable jobs to the region,” Monschke said.
Sun Storage staff and dealers are already busy with post-fair follow up. Monschke says that their dealers offered a special Oregon State Fair promotion for a complimentary solar assessment, normally a $250 value.
The assessments are the first step in evaluating the appropriate system for a given site, and power production objectives.
More than 100 new contacts have committed to the follow-up phase, while several other new projects have already moved to design/installation, and post-fair telephone calls are keeping office staff busy.