A Wal-Mart Supercentre in Texas has become the centre of several energy-saving experiments that will help the giant retailer decide how best to build future “green” locations. Wal-Mart is calling the Texas location its “control” store. It expects to save enough energy each year to power 1,800 homes. Solar Integrated Technologies of Los Angeles has just completed installation of a solar roof at the supercentre.
Interesting thing about Solar Integrated: Jon Slangerup, who became the company’s CEO in February, was most recently the CEO and president of Mississauga-based Stuart Energy before it was acquired by neighbour Hydrogenics Corp.
Turns out Solar Integrated has a partnership with Stuart (now Hydrogenics) for the creation of solar-hydrogen fueling stations. The idea is to build flexible solar PV tent structures around an electrolyzer unit that turns the sun’s energy into hydrogen. The result is a “station” that both generates hydrogen through water electrolysis when the sun is shining and dispenses the gas to fuel-cell vehicles. For early applications, it seems ideal for remote military bases using fuel-cell powered vehicles and equipment.
I had many interviews and visits with Slangerup. I considered him an effective CEO, and indeed, during his three years at Stuart revenues more than tripled. In fact, my only criticism is that Stuart — a global leader in hydrogen production through electrolysis — was sold to Hydrogenics. Stuart had a healthy industrial customer base and was growing well, so the emergence of a mainstream hydrogen economy was merely icing on the cake.
Solar Integrated is fortunate to have Slangerup as its CEO, and the fact that the former Stuart boss decided to join the Los Angeles company gives it a good shot of credibility.