Off the Grid
Gerald Falbel has been using his own roof as a testing ground for his solar innovations since 1960. With a background in aerospace, he was an early mover to the trend of outfitting a residential space with solar energy.
Today, Gerald has grown his early experiments into a business with customers in both Connecticut and New Mexico. His technologies enable both electricity and hot water solar systems to be installed for residential use.
“Unlike most of the solar systems that you find that look like postage stamps on the roof, mine doesn’t have an aesthetic problem,” Gerald says. His installations look like skylights.
Beyond making his own home and those in his surrounding community more energy efficient, Gerald believes his product could have important implications for the developing world. “We have developed this hybrid system of a single panel that produces electricity and is backed up by a rubber mat that produces heat,” he explains. “It’s designed for single family houses in developed countries that don’t have access to a power grid.”
This is what Gerald is currently trying to bring to market. At a competitive price of $200 to $300 per house, he says it could be more more affordable for the government to subsidize than bringing remote houses onto a central power grid. To make this possible, Gerald says an investor who understands the need and has the relationships to break into these countries could really help them get off the ground.
Gerald also believes that enabling more areas to rely on his type of product to produce electricity and hot water would improve quality of life and help save on fossil fuel usage.