Saturday, August 18, 2012

Camarillo Company Going Global With Mobile Solar Power

When Stephen Mason began working on his dream for a mobile solar power unit more than 20 years ago, the electrical engineer never imagined it would someday take him all over the globe.
Stephen Mason of Go Green Mobile Power, parked by a tree,
is powering the Camarillo Community Band concert at
Community Center Park. His technology is helping companies
in rural places areas of Canada and India.

While Mason had been working on solar technology for years, it was two years ago that he developed a mobile solar and wind power trailer with the capacity to store 12,000 watts of electricity.

It was a knock at the door of his Camarillo-based business, however, that catapulted his fledgling company into the international market.

Last summer, investors tapped Mason, co-owner of Go Green Mobile Power, LCC, to take his concept of mobile solar trailers into some of the harshest weather and working conditions in Canada. The mobile units, which can store 12,000 watts of solar energy, are now being manufactured at a factory in Alberta, Canada.

Mason also is working with a group of international scientists who are taking his mobile solar concept to the business sectors of India as well as the country's impoverished villages that are in need of power.

"I was up in Canada where the weather can be -50 degrees (Celsius) and they need these solar and wind towers so they can work on the roads," Mason said. "They now have a product that is dependable and will bring them plenty of power even in the worst weather."

While other companies in the country have developed mobile solar power units, Go Green's trailer technology offers features that can be adapted to a specific environment, Mason said. The solar trailer also includes telescopic lighting and wind turbine power, a special battery system tray design and other options that could be custom-tailored for clients' specific use.

The road to Go Green began almost three years ago when entrepreneur James Caulfield contacted Mason and asked him to design and develop a mobile power generator that could provide

power-on movie and television sets. The generators used on these sets usually ran on fuel and were often very noisy and would emit gas. They would oftentimes run 18 to 20 hours during long shoots.

With the help of investors, Caulfield and Mason were able to secure $150,000 to design and develop Go Green's first solar powered generator. It took Mason about six months to develop the 30-foot tall, 12,000-watt wind and solar generator, which features three solar panels and LED lights.

Parts for the light towers and mobile solar and wind generators are made in a factory in Chatsworth, but are assembled by Mason from his small Camarillo facility on Flynn Road.

Mason soon took the trailer on a "green tour" and became a fixture at numerous local events where the mobile solar trailer would light up nighttime performances in parks, or provide electricity on Hollywood film sets for movie stars' trailers. The mobile unit began to garner some attention from the entertainment industry. Mason recently signed a deal with a Hollywood studio to develop new and larger mobile generators with a 60,000 watts capacity that could be used on film sets.

"Some of these major actors don't like hearing and smelling these gas generators on their trailer, so we gave them something that is quiet when they need to get their rest on long shoots," Mason said. "Realistically, it would be difficult to power a whole movie set that normally requires 120,000 to 200,000 kilowatts daily, so many innovators in mobile power failed because they just promise too much or it cost too much to build. Now, we were able to build this smaller unit as a demonstration of what Go Green capabilities are."

While working on Hollywood sets, Mason also was getting a steady stream of jobs to bring his solar and wind lighting towers to oil sand mines in Bakersfield and mobile power generators to the Port of Long Beach.

Dan Courselle, general contractor and Go Green researcher, said one of the company's goals is to help spread the green movement locally and globally through education. As the company continues to grow, Go Green hopes to expand its operation not only in Camarillo, but across the country.

"Our goal is to bring more jobs here," Courselle said. "There is a demand for the solar concept that Steve has developed and we would like to explore those opportunities and manufacture these products here and eventually build a franchise."

While growth on the domestic front is progressing, Go Green's mobile concept has already been put to work internationally. Last summer, representatives from the Canadian company GMS Aggregate paid a visit to Mason at his Camarillo office to discuss exporting his solar mobile technology into the oil sand mines of Alberta.

In less than a year, Mason assembled 12 mobile solar and wind light towers from his Camarillo office and shipped the units to the Alberta facility. Now a portion of the facility is lit by Go Green light towers, which run fuel-free in harsh winter conditions.

By the end of last summer, Go Green Mobile Power, LTD., was formed in Canada, with Mason signing on as a chief consultant. The company has since opened a manufacturing facility in St. Paul, Alberta, where it is manufacturing more solar mobile generators, light towers and other environmentally friendly technology.

Going back from Camarillo to Canada isn't the only trip Mason will have on his itinerary. He also is working with Peter Gevorkian, owner and president of La CaƱada Flintridge-based Vector Delta Design Group, Inc., and other sustainable energy experts to bring mobile solar technology to India.

Vector Delta is an electrical and solar power design consulting engineering company which specializes in large scale solar power systems and power engineering.

Mason and Gevorkian met with delegates from India on Tuesdayto discuss establishing a manufacturing facility that would produce solar trailers for commercial, military and industrial use.

"We are currently in the process of designing a novel solar power trailer technology, which would incorporate a number of innovations ... and significant intelligence in its communication and diagnostic capabilities that will be unique to the new product," Gevorkian said.

Mason and Gevorkian said the ultimate goal is to mass-produce solar-based technology that would be tailored to users' needs. Another important component is to provide much-needed power to the impoverished areas of India, Gevorkian said.

"We are working together to see if we can develop nanotechnology that could become an export product," Gevorkian said. "Solar systems are becoming very attractive to underdeveloped countries where you have villages that simply don't have electricity for school and their communities. The applications are endless, but it really depends on the imagination and what we decide to produce."

Mason said he hopes to expand his Camarillo manufacturing operation and bring more local green jobs to the county and across the globe.

"Two years ago, my whole outlook changed," Mason said. "It's not about the money … that will come eventually. It's all about how you help people and make their life a little bit more comfortable."


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