Michael Intrieri, Founder & CEO, SunDrum® SolarMichael Intrieri, Founder & CEO
“As a manufacturer of Hybrid Solar solutions (PV and thermal), we design, develop, and sell hybrid solar energy collectors for residential and commercial markets. Our mission is to improve solar economics by providing cost-effective hybrid assemblies and systems while maximizing energy capture per square foot,” begins Michael Intrieri, the Founder and CEO of SunDrum® Solar. For industry veteran Intrieri, the passion for solar energy solutions began in the ’70s while working with his father to capture solar thermal energy. Capitalizing on his experience with both thermal and electrical solar systems, Intrieri took up the challenge of developing an environmentally friendly solution that could maximize total solar energy capture. This led to the development of the Intellectual Property for SunDrum Solar’s Hybrid technology.

SunDrum Solar’s solution combines both PV (solar energy to generate electricity) and solar thermal (heating or cooling) in one solution to provide the highest solar energy generated per square foot of space. As conventional PV-only systems allow valuable heat energy to escape the PV array, the SunDrum Solar Collectors simultaneously cool the PV panel while capturing thermal energy. It is attached to the underside of a PV panel to absorb the heat from the panel to heat hot water. In doing so, it cools the PV panel, which eventually increases the overall electrical efficiency by 5-10 percent and extends the PV panel life.

Currently, PV panels convert 5-20 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity while the remainder is absorbed as heat waste energy. In contrast, the SunDrum system can capture 86 percent of the sun’s energy by maximizing electrical production and capturing waste heat. SunDrum uses an existing mounting system and helps the PV panels to perform more effectively. The exclusive design of the SunDrum Collector allows the highest amount of renewable energy to be generated in a given amount of space, allowing 86 percent of usable energy to be captured.

Further, by drawing heat directly from the PV panel, the SunDrum Collector is able to cool it, thereby improving the electrical output. Also, it significantly increases system efficiency while generating thermal energy that can be used for space heating, potable water, pool heating, and even space cooling.

Our mission is to improve solar economics by providing cost-effective hybrid assemblies and systems while maximizing energy capture per square foot

Taking into consideration the need to supply solar energy even at night, the company introduced the HarvestHP® system. With 24-hour generation capabilities, this system offers effective space/water/pool heating and air conditioning/chilled water. In conjunction with a heat pump, the system maintains and stores usable energy, which allows for effective functioning even in low light/poor conditions. The system provides unprecedented operator control with on-demand energy capturing capabilities in daylight as well as lowlight conditions. Since 2015 this system has been servicing the residential, hospitality, multi-family, and collegiate markets.

To further expand markets, SunDrum Solar has recently introduced heating and cooling solutions for breweries. They are currently working with a Hawaii-based brewery for the complete installation of their solar thermal. With its scalable solution, SunDrum Solar takes care of the heating and cooling requirements of the brewery. In fact, the company aims to reduce the brewery’s gas usage by about 50 percent, and nearly double the chilled water capacity. The HarvestHP capability to provide solar chilled water as well as hot water, reducing the total energy load, (electricity and propane) that the brewery needs to operate its building, resulting in more energy savings.

Having carved a niche for itself in the market, the company added The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) International Award for Innovative Energy Project to its laurels in 2017. For the future, the company plans to add more features to its solutions through continuous innovations that are aligned to the changing market dynamics. “Our preferred business model is material supplying consultation, and we are dedicated to capturing the most energy per square foot of any hybrid system existing in the market today,” concludes Intrieri.