Published On: Thursday, 09 August 2018
Swiss Solar Tech Shines at BE Awards
SUMMERLAND - Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. took home the Green Business of the Year Award at the first annual Grant Thornton Thompson Okanagan Business Excellence Awards on June 14.
Swiss Solar Tech was one of two Summerland businesses to take home an award at the celebration, held at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna.
Incorporated in September 2001, Swiss Solar Tech creates cost-effective renewable energy and heat recovery solutions.
“Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. was formed for the purpose of offering solar water heating including solar pool heating, solar PV for electricity and heat recovery systems to the government, institutional and commercial business sector as well as to the private home owners,” says co-owner Susan Huber.
“Our special area of expertise revolves around offering clients the newest technologies available on the market to custom design the most efficient solar systems possible for each project.”
When Swiss Solar Tech started, it was a challenge to sell their product.
“Most of the time, we were just educating home and business owners about Solar,” says Huber.
“After 17 years, we think of ourselves as pioneers in BC’s solar industry. We are very proud of how far we’ve come.”
Thanks to their technical knowledge and management skills, the team at Swiss Solar Tech can oversee entire projects, from planning and design to supplying and installing the equipment.
Today, their clients include hotels, wineries, manufacturing facilities, restaurants, stores, storage facilities, as well as institutional and government buildings.
“Supporting this range of clients means that we have to offer a flexible approach,” says Huber.
“We will take on any site-specific obstacles like shading, rough terrain or small budgets and will turn it into viable options for solar energy production in the most cost efficient way possible.
“We also have an experienced roofer on staff that can handle any kind if roof from metal roof to asphalt shingles and from flat roof to very steep roofs including building a solar roof for parking lots and restaurant patios.”
Swiss Solar Tech has extensive experience working with wineries throughout the Okanagan, installing design-built solar systems for establishments such as Burrowing Owl, Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, Monster Vineyards, Howling Bluff, Noble Ridge and Painted Rock Estate Winery.
“In July 2017 we designed and installed a 50 kW solar panel system covering the carport for the Burrowing Owl Winery in Oliver,” says Huber.
“In the centre of the parking area is a landscaped ‘island’ where 12 cars can park. We designed and installed a protective cover over these 12 parking spaces that consist of a roof that provides shade and protection from rain, and will support 108 solar panels.
“These panels will generate 50,300 kWh/year and will offset CO2 emissions of 27 tons.”
The team is currently working on a bi-facial solar patio roof for Vanilla Pot, a boutique restaurant at the Poplar Grove Estate Winery in Penticton. This project will be installed in July of this year.
Last year also saw growth Swiss Solar Tech’s private sector work, with a growing demand for roof-mounted solar panels. The company introduced a new reward system for clients who brought new customers, helping them achieve significant sales growth throughout the 2017 calendar year.
With so many exciting developments in the solar energy market, Huber foresees a bright future for Swiss Solar Tech.
“Currently the solar energy market is the most exciting market to be working in,” she says.
“Energy prices will only go up and solar power is a non-pollution energy source we can install on most buildings or properties as long as it is not shaded.”
Huber believes that net zero construction will come to dominate the commercial and residential building industry.
“With solar technology, we can produce the energy on demand at the site, where no transportation of the energy is needed and there is no middleman to mark up the energy costs,” she says.
“We all will be travelling in electric vehicles that leave no carbon footprint and we can charge them with solar electricity we produce at home. Moving forward, we will need to implement many more solar installation teams in our company, and therefore we are training our current crew, with the hope of enhancing this over the years to come.”