Solar companies join forces | Business


COPEMISH – CBS Solar and Traverse Solar are teaming up so both can increase sales.

“We’re going to use all of our marketing ability and we’re going to integrate it to try to move the product. We will do all of the final assembly of the product here in Copemish,” said Tyson O’Shea, director of operations at CBS Solar.

Part of this end product includes a Traverse Solar-designed tracking system that keeps the solar panels pointed toward the sun throughout the day to maximize energy production.

“Myself and my partner who started the company – we are both mechanical engineers,” said Nathan Bildeaux, CEO of Traverse Solar. “We are not the commercial arm of the company. I wish I could say I could go out and sell this to the world, but that’s really not my ability.

The three-year agreement between Traverse Solar and CBS Solar provides shared ownership rights to Traverse Solar’s four-panel tracking system as the two companies prepare for distribution growth in the Midwest and nationwide, a he declared.

The deal “gives us a respected space business partner throughout the Midwest that will help us transition from retail to Midwest and national sales,” Bildeaux said. “It’s the commercial boost we really needed.”

Traverse Solar was started five years ago by Bildeaux and Kyle Jones.

Bildeaux, who grew up in Minnesota, and his wife moved to Traverse City because she grew up vacationing here and they decided that was where they wanted to raise their family.

Allan O’Shea started CBS Solar in the 1970s with solar and wind power offerings. The company then turned to supplying energy-efficient windows and wood-burning stoves, said Tyson O’Shea, Allan’s son. Eleven years ago, the company returned to solar. It currently offers the design and installation of residential, commercial and utility solar energy systems.

CBS Solar has 16 employees. Traverse Solar has five.

The actual solar panels, the component that converts the sun into electrical energy, are outsourced. The two local companies add other components to the panels to produce functional power-generating units.

“We try to stick to as much North American content as possible,” Tyson O’Shea said of the outsourced panels. “We use Canadian Solar and Mission Solar, of Texas.”

Traverse Solar is a Traverse City-based startup that designs and manufactures solar power systems that track the sun, which can increase electricity production by 40% over traditional solar panel systems, according to the companies.

“It’s a grassroots effort by Traverse City,” Bildeaux said of the partnership. “I’m grateful to know people who are willing to help.”


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