While we know solar can be a great way to reduce energy costs for your residence or business, there are so many ways to apply solar technology to projects outside the standard use cases. If you’ve worked in the solar industry for a while, you’ve undoubtedly had a friend or acquaintance ask you your thoughts or advice on building some type of interesting solar contraption. In my own experience over the years, I’ve helped people figure out how to power their school buses, sprinter vans, and mobile cell phone charging stations for music festivals.

Having technical skills in renewable energy doesn’t have to stop at the traditional use cases like residential grid-tied solar systems. You can use your skills and knowledge to make functional art or provide critical electricity infrastructure when there may not be any other options. The sky truly is the limit once you build your knowledge base and understand solar and energy storage systems. 

That’s why HeatSpring has gathered some brilliant thinkers and doers within the solar and sustainability spaces so that we can learn how they are applying solar technology to solve problems, make their communities more resilient, inspire others, and generally just make some pretty cool stuff in our upcoming free webinar – Unconventional Solar Applications.

Let’s meet our panelists!

James Bechard from Earthship Biotecture

James is a Sustainable Building Construction Specialist working in the famed Earthship community located in Taos, New Mexico. Earthships are known for their eco-construction and self-sufficiency. Earthship houses address all 6 human needs for a harmonious life on Earth: food, energy, clean water, shelter, garbage management, and sewage treatment. 

Inside an Earthship house – Photo from James Bechard
Outside an Earthship house under construction – Photo from James Bechard

Learn more about Earthship Biotecture here

William Heegaard and Jamie Swezey from the Footprint Project

The Footprint Project’s mission is to help build back greener after climate disasters by mobilizing cleaner energy to communities in crisis. They develop and deploy mobile solar generators to power front-line resilience efforts across the domestic United States. The Footprint Project provides equipment, logistics, and training for survivors and responders. Jamie is the Program Manager and Will is the Operations Director of the Footprint Project. 

A Footprint Project solar installation – Kentucky tornado response in 2021
A Footprint Project mobile solar generator – Hurricane Ida response in 2021

Alex Nathanson from Solar Power for Artists and Energy Transition Design LLC

Alex Nathanson is a designer, technologist, artist, and educator. His work is primarily focused on exploring both the experimental and practical applications of sustainable energy technologies, particularly solar PV. He is the founder and lead designer of the education platform Solar Power for Artists and its partner studio, Energy Transition Design LLC. Both the platform and studio are focused on making sustainable energy accessible, tactile, and understandable. As a solar power designer, he has created interactive and educational projects for the Climate Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Solar One, and the NYC Department of Education, among others. He’s even written a book, A History of Solar Power Art and Design!

Photo from Solar Power for Artists – Solar cart project with Solar 1 and Riseboro Community Farm
Photo from Solar Power for Artists – Solar Draw Bot Workshop

Chris LaForge from Great Northern Solar

Chris has been working in the solar and storage industries for over 30 years through his company Great Northern Solar. His own home is a testament to his family’s belief in sustainability and humans ability to have a better relationship with the Earth. There you will find everything from a small wind system to solar PV to solar thermal to passive solar greenhouses and more. Chris will be speaking to how he has applied his technical skills to living more sustainably on the land.

Join our free webinar Unconventional Solar Applications as our panelists discuss their unique applications for solar technology live on Zoom from 12-1pm EST on Wednesday, February 8th, 2023. The recording will be available after the live event. Register on HeatSpring whether you plan to attend live, or watch at a later date.

Maybe you’ll even come up with a few novel solar application ideas of your own!