Sunelco: The Sun Electric Company


Dan Brandborg founded Sunelco to collect another of Montana’s abounding resources: open sky.

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Montana’s Dan Brandborg was profitable courtesy when experts pronounced that, to urge a health of a economy, one should concentration on a prolongation of “value-added” products. This typically involves holding a abounding inexpensive internal apparatus and converting it into something some-more useful and, hence, some-more valuable.

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Historically, in Montana “resource” meant joist or minerals, though Brandborg had his eye on something some-more environmentally soft than a blockish clearcuts nearby his cabin in southwestern Montana. His investigate told him that a many profitable and abounding apparatus in a “Big Sky Country” is—well, sky.

Today, Brandborg’s business, Sunelco Inc. (the Sun Electric Company), sells solar electricity systems that capacitate hundreds of people around a nation to take a abounding resource—sunlight—and renovate it into a rarely useful product: electricity.

What’s more, by offered solar panels, those slabs of silicon that modify fever into electricity, Sunelco has fast turn a moneyed instance of a new call of “green,” or environmentally conscious, low-impact businesses that communities are seeking.

The beliefs of solar electricity, or photovoltaics (“PV” in attention shorthand) have been famous for decades, though since of high costs and comparatively low potency they didn’t come into their possess until a U.S. space module put them to work. The same qualities that done solar electricity appealing to NASA in a ’60s—chiefly a coherence and a trustworthiness in impassioned conditions—make it an appealing choice for people seeking self-sufficiency.

Sunelco’s owner grew adult in an environmentally wakeful family. Fascinated by a intensity of solar energy, Brandborg worked dual years in Maryland for Solarex, a nation’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. Then he saw an event to move that knowledge out west.

“When we worked for Solarex all their sales were to a western United States, ” he recalls, “so we thought, ‘Why couldn’t we do this from Montana?”‘ Soon he and his mother Becky were perplexing only that.

Setting out in a tumble of 1985 with only $4,000 in start-up money, he put together a mail-order catalog and started conceptualizing and shipping PV systems to business via a West.