Monday, August 16, 2010

Abound Solar - aloft with stimulus

A company that started here in Fort Collins, CO recently received $400 million in stimulus money from President Obama. I've tracked the progress of the company throughout its development as it is a spin-off from the mechanical engineering department at Colorado State University. Namely from the lab of W.S. Sampath who I've had the pleasure of meeting a few times. The following is a fairly cheesy but informative corporate video explaining what abound solar is and what they make. I have written about this company before - you can read about their origins here.

For those financially inclined, I have speculated that abound may go public at some point.  I have heard nothing further on an IPO but, while the world waits to pick their renewable energy horses there are some companies associated with abound that ARE publicly traded.  if you pause the video you can read some of their logos. However, the one I will mention here is called Advanced Energy.  Though other companies listed specialize in distribution and installation it appears to me that Advanced Energy is the most wholly integrated company with abound in their manufacturing process. 

My hope is that with all this tax money "we the people" are pouring into this company that they have the wherewithal to give back to the people (NOT THE CORPORATIONS) that have enabled their progress.  I have had the pleasure to make the acquaintance of one Henri Redcloud of the Lakota Nation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. I met Henri through his collaboration with another Colorado State spin-off (this one non-profit) called Village Earth.  I am not affiliated with either abound solar or village earth but the proximity of these causes compels me to put out on the internet a suggestion for collaboration.   As you can see in the video below Henri has a vision through his own start-up - Lakota Solar Enterprises to bring a sustainable energy future to his people.  Presently Abound has contracts with major companies in Germany (I.E. Juwi) where solar energy is so heavily subsidized it makes the sale of these relatively low efficiency (but also very low cost) solar cells profitable.  My hope is that our government realizes the worth of subsidizing solar AND also realizes that local control of the electricity generated is important for the democratization of energy in America. I am using these words to make a vote. I vote that these subsidies start as pilot projects in places like the Pine Ridge reservation,  where the oldest Americans deserve power both electric and political!

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