Matthew Longman and Shari McDowell of Aquassure Accessible Baths are once again changing the shape of an industry with their Kelowna based solar company Azimuth Solar Products Inc.
Their latest business idea is coming to fruition after inspiration struck during a cold night camping in the woods.
“Three years ago we were camping and the temperatures were getting close to freezing. I thought there had to be a way to heat the tent without risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning or the need for fuel,” said Kelowna based massage therapist and entrepreneur Matthew Longman.
The answer was solar power; a safer fuel and hazard-free way to generate energy that could be used in a variety of applications.
They developed portable solar generator systems that can provide 3.0 to 3.7 kilowatts of power with one day’s worth of sunlight. These systems can work with everything from RVs to tiny homes, in campgrounds and off-grid living, to emergency disaster responses; a subject that Shari McDowell is extremely passionate about.
“They can provide power for emergency medical equipment in troubled regions, for rescue missions, in harsh landscapes such as deserts and mountains, or at private homes and neighbourhoods where there has been localized flooding, earthquake or fire,” explained McDowell.
“You don’t need fuel with this. You can maintain your power with as much as a golf cart battery,” added Longman.
The pair did plenty of research before taking their idea to the development stage, and feel that there isn’t anything quite like their systems available on the market. The solar panels and Azimuth’s specially designed tripod and frame system can be easily packed up into carrying cases and fit into the trunk of a car. The swivelling tripod holds over 3,000 pounds and the 2-axis frame system can be tilted so the panels always face the sun to harness maximum energy. The whole system can be set up in five minutes and requires no tools or screws.
“Our system is as universal as possible. It can be adapted with various connectors, batteries and solar panels,” explained Longman.
The pair believe that creating portable solar power generation is a way to encourage people to use power more wisely, and become less dependent on fossil fuels.
In time, Azimuth will also be supporting humanitarian efforts and facilitating donations of solar systems to those living in unstable regions.
“We’re really passionate about changing our little piece of the world,” said McDowell.
To help with that effort, Azimuth will be applying for Benefit Corporation status; a type of corporation that commits to social or economic betterment while doing business. “You can commit to doing good in the world and still be profitable,” added McDowell.
In order to kick start their marketing and sales, they will be launching a crowdfunding initiative which allows them to introduce the product to the public and get it up and running while receiving feedback and funding for manufacturing.
For more information on Azimuth Solar Products Inc., visit their website at www.azimuthsolar.ca.