Detroit workers install solar power at brewery

Power Panel is a combined photovoltaic/thermal solar system manufacturer in Detroit. First conceptualized in 2006 by president Garth Schultz, the technology is different from many other types of solar panels.

Power Panel’s product is different in that it generates electricity from photovoltaic, or PV, cells as well as harnessing the sun’s energy to produce hot water for showers and other uses.

Power Panel employs local Detroiters, and recently the company completed a commercial-scale project with The Corner Brewery, supplying 140 panels to provide electricity and hot water for the brewery’s Ypsilanti, Mich., facility.

The insulating material that enables the combination of PV and solar-thermal technologies is also used extensively in the automotive industry, where Schultz began his career. One of the benefits of this next-generation technology is that water flowing through the panels cools the PV cells, increasing efficiencies by preventing the PV cells from getting too hot.

— Environmental Entrepreneurs