Luma Resources Finds Innovative Road Ahead, Through Solar-Power Shingles
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selling its solar units directly to contractors, and has about 30 installments at this point. “We thought it was going to be builders, through roofers, and through electricians, but in reality it’s all of them and then some,” says Allen of how the Luma solar kit is hitting the market. The firm is also getting calls from building contractors looking to break into the solar field for the first time.
Allen sees potential in the ease of use and the diversity of Luma’s product. The kit can work with brand-new and decades-old roofs, and integrates with virtually any roofing material. “Its like a skylight, it can attach to any kind of roof,” Allen says. “The homeowner using our system has all the choice.”
The federal stimulus funding in 2009 helped give Luma a boost, through a state-run program. Michigan’s Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth gave the firm a $200,000 loan, and provided a $500,000 Clean Energy Advanced Manufacturing grant. Luma was one of five Michigan manufacturing companies in December 2009 awarded a total of $15.5 million through the program, and was the only solar technology developer, Allen says.
Luma currently has distribution agreements with eight states, and is looking to expand into three other areas in the coming year. Just last month, its system was installed at the firehouse in Rochester, MI, where it is expected to save more than $150,000 in energy costs of the life of the system, and pay for itself in about six years.