PODCASTS

Scott Franklin Of Lumos Solar: Making A Difference With Solar Powered Solutions

Scott Franklin Of Lumos Solar: Making A Difference With Solar Powered Solutions

 

Kip hosts Scott Franklin of Lumos Solar who goes in depth with Kip about his company making a huge sustainable difference across the industry with his solar powered solutions.


 

Podcast Participants:
Graham: Product Director Concora
Kip Rapp: CEO Concora
Scott Franklin: CEO of Lumos Solar

 

Graham:
Hello, everyone and welcome to the Concora Corner, a podcast dedicated to bringing you interviews with folks working in the AEC and BPM industry. I’m one of your hosts, Graham Waldrop, a Director of Product here at Concora. Today on the show, we’re talking with Scott Franklin. Scott is the founder, President and CEO of Lumos solar. Scott’s company creates solar powered solutions for design professionals, contractors and commercial and residential projects. Scott and Kip discuss the differences between solar and traditional power sources and how wanting to truly make a difference in the world inspired Scott to create Lumos in the first place. We hope you enjoy today’s interview with Scott. But before we begin, here’s a quick word from our CEO, Kip Rapp.

 

Kip:
I wanted to thank everyone again, for listening to our podcast. If you’re interested in knowing more about Concora, we help building product manufacturers get specified and purchase more by providing a great web experience that’s bolted onto your website. It makes it easy for your architects, engineers and contractors to do business online with you. We sum it up as three things; it’s providing a good web experience, good content and good tools, and we have some great tools such as submittals, sustainability, project showcases, or anything else needed by your design community to specify and purchase products. We’d be more than happy to show you a quick demo, and you can go to concora.com to learn more, read case studies and see how other customers have grown sales with our partnership.
All right, well, hello, Scott, thanks for joining. I know we just talked a few days ago, and solar has always been a passion of mine, and I’m waiting for one day when everything’s solar powered, or wind powered or something. It’s just, I’ve talked to a lot of owners and entrepreneurs and founders, and it’s really cool, because it’s people like you that can really build this industry out. It’s solving through technology, or [inaudible 00:02:16] building materials, and that helps out the overall sustainability mandate and carbon emissions and all that. It’s just a wonderful thing to be able to share that story.

I’ve seen that too with others, Scott, is just being able to educate, going over the status quo, and faster, better, higher quality, and hopefully, our readers can get that out of our discussion today. How we start, Scott, if you can just introduce yourself and what you do, what your company does.

 

Scott Franklin:
Sure, my name is Scott Franklin. I’m the founder and CEO of Lumos Solar. We like to think of ourselves as an architectural solar company. What that means is we’re focused on making solar products that are not just energy producers, but they’re also really designed to be easily integrated into existing and new architecture, in really functional and aesthetic ways. So, combining features, such as weather proofing, daylighting, other aesthetic features, along with excellent, high efficiency, renewable energy generation.

That’s our focus as a company, is making products that make solar accessible and interactive. I think a lot of people think of solar today as something out in the desert field somewhere or on a rooftop, somewhat of an unwanted electric appliance, if you will. We’re really focused on trying to change our perception of solar, from being just that just generic box to a functional and aesthetic design element.

 

Kip:
That’s cool. Yeah, I really appreciate that. Just accessible, practical, functional, above and beyond what people think about it. Really interested in hearing your story of how the company started, when it started. You said you were you said you were rock climbing. It was like one day you’re climbing a rock and you’re like, hey, this solar stuff’s pretty cool. Could you walk us through that?

 

Scott Franklin:
Sure. My background has been in rock climbing; I was a professional climber most of my adult life. Having gone from being a full time climber, and then migrating into the business, the outdoor industry and climbing and being a designer by nature and entrepreneur, we started a business in the climbing industry and designed and develop some unique products around that. Really got involved in really the climbing industry. Have a great business, doing those independent design work. We sold that business eventually, and then got into doing independent design development work for other companies in the outdoor industry, and climbing products in particular.
In 2005, really I started… I have two young kids at that time and starting to do some self-reflection and thinking like, what am I doing with my life? I’ve been climbing my whole life, and looking at my kids and looking at the politics of the time, and where we were generally moving as a society and I felt like I really wanted to do something that was helping the world move in what I felt was a more positive direction and hoping to solve more problems than just problem for climbers.

What I mean by that is, people that are going rock climbing or mountaineering, alpine climbing, their problems are not really problems, per se. We’re doing pretty good. Meanwhile, climate change is a real existential threat, and looking at my young children thinking, I want to be able to say to them, that I spent my day and my energy and my skill and my drive, and time trying to make the world a better place. Not that I’m trying to single handedly solve the world’s problems. Probably somewhere to say that I did what I could.

Making new carabineers, or climbing harnesses or shoes is a great thing, and it’s super fun, and I love it. But I felt like I needed to do a little bit more. What I did was, I did a reverse engineering exercise with myself and said, what can I do? With my background, my skill, my experience, my… Because the real question boiled down to is, what product could I design, develop that the more we sell of, the better for the world? Being a product guy, I was definitely product focused.

My conclusion was, it has to be something in solar, because the more solar panels that are just deployed and in use, that’s less energy being used from the grid, from non-renewable sources, et cetera. That was how the company was founded, from that Genesis. It was really trying to find a product that really, I think, the more we do, the better. It’s good for everybody. It’s not just good for the business, but it actually is a true synergistic, and it’s a positive feedback loop.

 

Kip:
It appears you’re entrepreneurial at heart, and obviously with the rock climbing to having a business, and then the nobility with your kids, as you mentioned, and then solar, which is very honorable. Because I do believe that it takes every one of us to be entrepreneurial, and to do our own part, which then really takes the bits and pieces of this huge problem of carbon emissions and sustainability overall. I applaud you for that. But why solar, why not wind or batteries or something else? Plant-based stuff, right?

 

Scott Franklin:
Good question. Again, it was just back to really, what can I do? I think those are things I’m interested in; wind, plant-based alternatives, from food, to packaging, to all kinds of things. But my personal interest, I’ve always been interested in solar energy in general. It’s so ubiquitous, and so available, and so underutilized. Really, back to being a product person, I am a product guy, I always think about product solutions, how do I make a thing that helps solve problems?
The original concept was to build modular prefabricated structure, that’d be solar powered, that could be used for off grid situations that could be disaster relief, could be for remote housing, for hunting, ski lodges, mountain applications, temporary housing, things like that. My first concert was to build a prefab structure that’d be powered with solar and that could be just picked up with a helicopter or a truck and deployed anywhere.
I did that, actually went ahead and built that product as a prototype and that’s how the company really started. Then very quickly, it morphed into not full structures, but just the components themselves to be applied to existing or new construction. That’s how we got into the solar module and mounting system business that we do today.

 

Kip:
Yeah, that provides a lot of insight to when I was on your website, because a lot of the commonalities I see, it’s not your typical places that I would think of solar, it’s on these… Then as you mentioned, it’s like and ecstatically pleasing

places, creative that not only beautifies that landscape, but it makes it functional and using solar as energy. I was looking at, I call them canopies, I guess, but just those structures. I saw him at the carports, that was really cool.
Well, it looks very modern and futuristic, too, which is cool, too. That’s appreciated the modularity and the portability of what you’re saying with your product. Is there any other competitors back then? I’m assuming that was back in the mid-2000s that you were talking about this? But did you have a pattern to go after, or you just said, hey, one day, all these existing solar companies out there, are a little more permanent, a little more traditional, and you say, “Hey, I want to do differently.” Or were there other people that you took inspiration from?

 

Scott Franklin:
Not really. I think we’ve always been in our own, trying to solve a different problem, I think. I think what we saw was that there’s plenty of commodity… Well, we think it was commodity solar panels, so there’s no shortage of guys making silver aluminum frames with a solar panel laminated into it. For all the different companies out there making them are basically making the same product, they’re differentiated only on price, and how much capital is behind pushing them.

I think, if you watch the solar industry over the last 15 years, the trail of pretty staggering bankruptcies and spectacular financial collapses are really a testament to, I think, a commodity market driven by price. When youcompete on price, lowest price wins means the winner usually is the one who can hold their breath the longest, basically underwater.

The winner in this case has been large, state supported Chinese companies, not surprisingly, because they have made a commitment to be global leaders in renewable energy, wind and solar, and they’ve built the supply chains and manufacturing base to support that. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. They’ve got a lead that is not going to be closed. No matter how much talk we have about green jobs and US manufacturing, and that’s just complete nonsense. It’s never going to happen here in any way, shape or form.

 

Kip:
I hear you. I’m trying to connect the dots, because I’m about maybe one centimeter deep into solar, not too much. But are you saying then, knowing that you really didn’t want to be a commodity provider, you wanted to be a quality provider. Then this prototyping of this aesthetically, novel way of producing solar designs on these more interesting ways, on top of other structures, or as part of portable type of objectives, is that what you’re saying?

 

Scott Franklin:
Exactly. It occurred to me… Well, two things. One was that from a business perspective, trying to compete in the commodity market is not terribly gratifying, right? Where’s the upside, and how do you even compete there, unless you have massive capital behind you, and you’re going to go after that. That wasn’t an option. We’re not represented by or supported by the US government, so that’s not going to happen.

Their side is from a just product differentiation side and solving problems. That problem is solved. I think, if you want to make power using solar energy, we can do that for very low cost today, and that is being very well done by large companies. What we saw was an opportunity to make something different and solve different problems.
Those problems are, how do we bring solar into more accessible locations? How can we combine them into something that’s aesthetic and functional? What I mean by that is not just power, but also shade. The combination of shade and solar power, they’re perfectly tied. Where you want shade means you also have lots of solar generation.

The south side of your house, the open unshaded parking lots, those are places where you’re getting a massive amount of solar energy coming down, what a perfect combination, right? We can collect the solar energy and provide shade underneath, and you do that in an aesthetic way that if people say, “Great, I’m happy to put that in front of my corporate headquarters or my retail location or my university entrance.”

If you take a commodity solar panel, that’s a big silver box with a white sheet under it, wires hanging down, they say, “No, thanks. We’re not going to put that in front of our corporate headquarters.”

 

Kip:
That’s pretty funny. Having an ugly thing. It produces power, but it looks a little ugly.

 

Scott Franklin:
Exactly. It just is not the right answer. A story that was interesting to me that I realized something very early on when I brought the first prototype product to, at that time, the largest manufacturer in China to produce the first prototype for us called Suntec. It was a meeting with their engineers in China and showing them the design, and our unique design is a frameless glass module with a through bolt mounting.

The glass is like a spider mount, a spider fixation through the glass. The engineers were looking at me like why do you want to do this? Why would you want to have the mounting this way? Why do you want to do these things? I realized right there, not only have those engineers never even installed a solar panel themselves, they may not have even seen one in the field anywhere. They didn’t even think about the design. All they did was they looked at the existing technology by at that time Sharp or Sandhya, or a large Japanese who were leading the market at that time, and then just copy what they’re doing. Don’t even rethink it, just make an aluminum frame around this laminate and make our version of it.

It really occurred to me that there was so much opportunity for our unique systems approach, because the only thing that was going on in the industry at that time was, and still is today, the solar module manufacturers make a solar panel or solar module. Then the people that make the rocking of the mounting systems are different. They’re not designed to work together, they just happen to make the model the way they make it, and then he’ll make racking solutions to support them.

Our approach was, let’s design them together, because you can’t have one without the other. What I mean is, you can’t have a solar panel in the field and no way to mount it. You have to attach it to something. Our approach has always been from the ground up, a systems approach, not just the solar panel and then go find a racking solution, we design the entire thing from the ground up to work really well and seamlessly together.

 

Kip:
Now, that’s awesome. I really appreciate that you have the power of solar, and then you’re really leveraging the other aspects, form over function. Well, a lot of function too, shade, aesthetics, and that kind of triangulation just seems powerful. That systems approach, as you mentioned, it’s not like a Frankenstein that you’re putting together.

 

Scott Franklin:
Exactly.

 

Kip:
It’s a beautiful painting of unique ways to use solar that has a lot of functional aspects, as you mentioned. Were you chasing, in the early, and maybe even now too, now, obviously, there’s a lot of commercial applications. But were you chasing commercial upfront, or were you chasing residential or both?

 

Scott Franklin:
It’s funny, we were just talking about this today, we’ve been in business for 15 years, which is an old solar company. Our LSX frameless model, which is our first real unique differentiated product has been on the market for 10 years. There’s been some iterations of it, but it’s been basically the same product for 10 years, and we will continue it.

When we started, we thought the opportunity was residential rooftops. That’s where we were all focused at the time. There’s a growing interest that early adopters are putting in rooftop systems, and we thought the angle was making very clean looking frameless models on the rooftop, and we did quite a bit of that. Really, the pitch was, or really the client for that product was homeowners with nice homes. If you’ve got a high end home in Southern California, that you spend millions of dollars on the landscaping, you’ve got a Tesla on the driveway or a Porsche, or a Ferrari, you’re not going to just put anything on the roof. You want to put something that’s commensurate in design, and intentional and thoughtful, like the rest of your house.

People will go to great lengths to really create their home, all of the details; the roof, the material of the facade, the siding, the color, the landscaping. Why would they just put any random thing on the roof? The answer is, they won’t.
Maybe the husband might say, I definitely want solar, I don’t care. But the wife is typically the gatekeeper of that home and say, “No, we’re not putting that on.” What we saw when we launched our product was, people said,

“We will do that. That product is okay on my roof. I’m happy to do that.” Because that looks like it’s modern, and well designed and thoughtful, not just a random box on the roof.

 

Kip:
Yeah. Well, that makes a lot of sense. I assume the residential side is common. Then now you’re in commercial and resident, are you more towards commercial? Is there balance now? When did you get into commercial?

 

Scott Franklin:
Good question. We started in the residential game, but then we realized very quickly that, that market is a little spotty. There’s rooftop applications, but really, where we saw the biggest application for our product was what we think of as overhead solar. Back to this idea of shade and power combination. When we made the module with a transparent, and you can see through it, let some daylighting coming through, we realized the big opportunity was in those kind of applications, as you mentioned; canopies, awnings, carports, shade structures, where you need a covered walkway for rain and heat. Carports in order to keep heat and snow or rain off the car, stuff like that.

That’s been our real focus, and that’s one of the biggest adoption is coming in our product, and that’s really where we are today. There are a lot of variations around that. We do two things, we either supply our module systems to architects, designers, installers, for structures by others. Meaning, they’ve got a pergola or a canopy design built by them, and they can integrate our solutions on top of that. Or we provide the structure as well. We’ve got a whole structural system that can be a turnkey solution ground up, including structure and then the module.

We work along that continuum. The one thing we won’t do is supply the structure for modules by others. If you bring a solar from China, we won’t give you a structure.

 

Kip:
Well, that makes sense. I’m only imagining because you have the other functional and aesthetic type of requirements, then it can also help not being as optimal on those energy requirements, because it doesn’t have to be maybe sunshine 24 hours a day, if there’s a shade, or some other requirements that can help the building project?

 

Scott Franklin:
Well, right. Good point, because a lot of times… Let’s use an example of an entryway to a stadium. They know they’re going to put some kind of canopy over the entryway. That’s going to happen, and they’re going to spend a lot of money doing that. They might use really expensive building materials. I think where our product might come in, they might say, we’re going to add solar here, even if there is maybe a shade, light poles in the way, or things that we typically would avoid in almost any calls for a commercial industrial solar installation.

For architectural applications, that’s not the right analysis, because they’re saying, let’s get as much solar as they can get, but really want to make a statement, partially to show our support for solar energy, our commitment to it. We’re willing to accept maybe a performance hit, but we’re still getting all the other benefits.
Here goes a giant light pole in the way or another building casting shadow part time of the year. We’re okay with that, because we still have a canopy covering our entryway, and we’re getting power, we’re getting a weatherproof entry, et cetera.

Now, it’s a little bit different. I think another application that’s very common for us is the combination systems where there might be large rooftop system on a building or a corporate headquarters, for example, that nobody can see. It’s essentially a tree falling in the woods. They made a major commitment to sustainability but nobody could even know it’s there. By doing a carport or entry canopy or some kind of other dramatic façade, they can very visibly show off that commitment, and it tells the story a lot more tangibly than just a vague notion or-

 

Kip:
Trust me, it’s up there. The one thing I was fairly impressed too is you said transparency of the solar for shades. I never connected the topics, because in my mind, watching movies or TVs or whatever, roofs are always opaque. That’s really cool. Is that where… I assume that’s a standard now, where you can have transparent solar structures. Is that what you’re saying?

 

Scott Franklin:
What I mean is, if you take a look at our solar panels, imagine a piece of glass with solar cells glued into that glass. What that allows is light transmittance. For architects, we have a range of solutions where they can say we want somewhere between 4% and 100% light transmittance. We can provide even, what we think of as infill panels, with no cells in them, so they can create a contiguous array, or structure, maybe some of those cells, for locations, there’s too much shade, or they don’t want that much, or they want more daylighting.

They can change and fine tune them out of daylighting. I think that’s been really well received by the architecture community, because sometimes they’re less concerned about power generation, it’s more like a, by the way, we’re getting power, but we want light. This is a courtyard, for example, we need light coming through, we don’t want full sunlight, we want 30% sunlight.

They can tailor that and fine tune that amount of light coming through. Again, it’s visible, to walk in, and you can see, okay, this is a solar generation facility as well, it’s not just a six screen pattern on some glass, it’s a functional thing.

 

Kip:
Still, I think for the consumer to novel solar as a novel technology and being able to see it is certainly impressive, as you mentioned. If someone wants to, I guess, shell their sustainability support. Then the functionality and aesthetic

side is really cool, because as you were saying, you’re clarifying the transparency aspects is between the panels. But I can imagine so many different designs that an architect could do. There still are functional requirements, because the amount of shade and lighting. That’s awesome.

Just on another topic, another thing. I’m guessing, because I’m thinking… I’m a listener, if I’m listening to solar, here’s some of the questions that I may have. Just from an ROI perspective, because last thing I remember solar for homeowners, you see these Tesla roofs, and they’re heck of expensive. It takes many, many years to reach any kind of economic sense. What’s your thoughts on the applications of solar as an investment versus traditional, I guess, power? Is it still multiples off as far as investment to make your money back, or is it better nowadays?

 

Scott Franklin:
It’s almost a false premise to even have that question. The reason is… Well, let me put it back as another question, what other products do you use, for example, in your home, that you have to calculate ROI? If you’re going to put a roof on your house, what’s the ROI on that? You need waterproofing on your house, you need the house to be weatherproof, you pay for the roof, you don’t get a return on it. There’s no money coming back to you for it.

It’s funny that solar… The thing about it, it’s the only product, that that’s something that has to justify its existence by its return on investment. When you go buy a new car, you don’t say, “Well, I’m going to pay $80,000 for this new Lexus. What am I going to get back? What’s my return on investment?” You buy it because you like it, and you want that car.

The reason I say that is, where all of a sudden solar, if we’re trying to compare it to say grid power today, right? Let’s say you live in Colorado; you are typically supplied by Xcel Energy. They already supply your power. The comparison to say solar versus Xcel Energy is when you’re buying energy from the grid or the utility company, you’re essentially renting it. You pay for what you’re using, you don’t have a source of generation, you just are buying energy and you’re paying it as you go.

When you buy a solar system, what you’re doing is you’re saying I’m going to buy effectively 25 years of power right now, upfront, in cash. I’m going to pay for this generation facility, put it on my roof today and it’s going to produce power for 25 years. It’s a little bit of a renting versus buying equation. I can rent an apartment for $1,000 a month, or I could buy a house for $800,000 onetime payment, which one do you want to do?

 

Kip:
No, I do get that. Just from a logical perspective, putting everything else to the side, if I get a solar system of some sort, it should then lessen the need for the power grid. Then my power costs, if I was spending, whatever, per kilowatt, and I was spending 1000 kilowatt hours or whatever it is, then the solar system, I get that it’s an investment for a generation or for many years. But there’s certainly that thought process, me as a homeowner. It’s like, oh, I’m going to invest in this system. I do love sustainability. But what is the impact? Because if I’m shelling out $50,000 for a solar system, and it’s taking me 100 years to pay that back, it’s like, I might think about that a little differently, right?

 

Scott Franklin:
Absolutely. Well, I guess my… Not to go too far off in tangent there, because that’s to do with, there’s so many different scenarios by market, by utility rates. For somebody in Southern California to make that analysis is different than somebody in Colorado, or North Dakota. It has to do with how much sun do you get? What utility rates are you offsetting? What are you not paying? It’s an avoided cost question.

In Southern California, if you have tiered pricing, the highest tier, you’d be paying 40, 50 cents a kilowatt hour, that’s meaningful to offset even for every affluent people. If you  live in, maybe North Dakota, or even Colorado, utility rates are very low, offsetting those are not that valuable. The reason to do solar are different.

I think the simple answer to your question is that it’s a complicated analysis, but it really is a rent versus own question. That gets complicated by market and you have to make some other decisions. I think the real challenge for solar is… I like to think about it as, I use this vitamin versus tourniquet solution continuum. Solar is a little bit more vitamin than a tourniquet. Meaning, if you don’t take your vitamins, you leave the house and you take them, you still felt pretty good. You’re not going to fall down and have to get carried home.

But if you need to tourniquet, you really need it. If they don’t put a tourniquet on, you bleed out and you die. Solar is a little more like a vitamin. Meaning like, if you don’t put solar in your house today, your lights are still on, you don’t have a problem today. I can buy energy from a coal fired plant, inside the house, it still looks the same, I don’t see black clouds of smoke belting up in front of my house, my kids are not choking. Depending on where you live, it’s not really in your face. The bills aren’t that onerous, you don’t have a real problem.

There’s not a lot of the pain. If you live in Southern California, and you live in Hawaii, New Jersey, maybe, certain markets where the utility rates are super high, you’re moving up the continuum towards a tourniquet, where, for example, if you live in Hawaii, and utility rates are 40 or 50 cents a kilowatt hour, and you’re a working family paying those utility bills, that’s actually meaningful. If you’re having to spend $500, $600, $700 a month on electricity, then all of a sudden solar gets really attractive, because I can actually take that bill out of the equation, that’s worthwhile.
That’s, I think, the bigger question. That’s a more macro topic for solar in general, and I think it has to do with much bigger topics than we’re trying to focus on addressing. They have to do with, how we deal with markets, how we deal with carbon, how we deal with pollution. I can go on and on. I’m grateful to the new administration that’s coming in, I think, we see movement in a lot of good directions.

The US is famous for, we like to prioritize a profit and socialize all the costs. We all pay for global warming and disasters and pollution mitigation, but the companies that are doing the emissions and the power plants and the utilities that are using these fossil fuel generations, they prioritize profits. I think when we start to see a shift in that, that’s when solar starts to make more sense.

The last thing I’d say, just to go on my little rant on that, is that the biggest challenge, I think we’ve faced up until say this, hopefully change in mindset is that there’s so much entrenched capital and interest in looking at yesterday’s technologies. We have the power plants, we have the turbines, we have the ways to make energy, basically the same way we’ve made since the 1800s. We boil water, we make steam and we turn turbines. We know how to do that, and that’s what we like to do.

Solar and wind represent a very different way to look at that. They are disruptive technologies. One of the main reasons is, because they can’t charge the source of energy. I think Edison said it well, if utilities essentially could charge you for how many kilowatt hours are hitting your area from the sun, you’d totally be doing that, but they can’t.

The problem is, that’s not their business model, their business model is, I’m going to take something coal or atoms and split that and basically make heat and pour water, and we sell you that service. Solar is not that, solar is simply I’m going to put these collectors out there, and then I’m going to sell you the energy from those. It’s a different model.

I think we as a society to start looking to tomorrow’s technologies. We know these things work, we should immediately stop investing in yesterday’s technologies that we know are running out. Why spend one more day putting money and time into things that we know have no future?

 

Kip:
Yeah, well, I’m a believer. I think there’s a whole philosophical and political part of what you’re saying with existing businesses, paradigm shifts. I do think, though, when you have the status quo, there are these disruptors that have to happen over time, either from the consumer side, certainly from the technology side, I do think cost is definitely a piece of that and making it part of everyday lives.

What you’re doing, I applaud, because it’s more on the commercial side, you have all these other triangulations of why it’s important from the shade to the aesthetics. That’s awesome. Just on the last piece here, Scott, on the commercial side, you talk to architects and engineers, what’s important to them? How are you educating them?
I’m sure there’s architects and engineers out there that just have a passion for solar, and they’re just looking for ways to do this, and they run into your company, and it was like, oh, wow, this is cool. Then there’s others that you’re educating. What are some of those educational points that really stand out for these design community folks?

 

Scott Franklin:
How many architects or design professionals we encounter that have no idea what can be done, that these solutions were even available? Really, how easy they are to use and integrate? It’s easy, we’re in our own little world to feel like, oh, doesn’t everybody know we know? Then our bubble gets burst on a daily basis, it goes, oh, they didn’t know that, but we’re happy to tell them, that’s what we do. We don’t have a traditional Salesforce, we basically just, we are educators. We deal with incoming leads and inquiries, and we educate and consult on how to integrate our solutions.

I think, we occupy a unique space. I think people a lot of times, think of us as, you might have heard the term BIPV, which is building integrated photovoltaic. What that really means, probably the most strict definition is it’s solar that’s built into the building envelope. You see ideas of glass curtain walls, where the glass is a solar panel, but you can see through it or other, I’d say more custom products that are very expensive and very complicated.

Certainly applications out there for them. We’re not that, we’re actually something probably more accurately described as building applied photovoltaic or BAPV. That we provide, essentially, LEGO building blocks, solar LEGO building blocks, I think, is a way to think about it. We have a couple of different shapes. If you know LEGOS, there’s the four block one, there’s a six block one. We have a couple of different blocks, and you can build your solar dream with our products. You don’t have to start down to completely custom path with all the costs and delays and lead times around it.

I think what people are mostly surprised about, they realize, oh, we can just put this on our existing trails that already have or I can remove the metal roofing on this awning and replace it with solar panels, or you guys can provide a modular carport design that can fit in this location. That’s the big education, I think is that it’s easy. It’s not a custom project. People are very happy when they realize that.

 

Kip:
A sigh of relief, like, oh, well, it doesn’t have to be expensive or this big brick of a product that I can fit in, somehow. Yeah, that’s cool.

 

Scott Franklin:
I wouldn’t say that it’s not expensive, but it’s not as expensive. But, I think, compared to most architectural building materials where we’re right in line, I don’t think anybody’s… Architects are certainly not shocked or surprised by our pricing. Compared to traditional solar panels, commodity models, yeah, we’re much more expensive. But we’re adding a lot of other features that you don’t get. I think it’s easier for architects and designers to understand that value.
Solar contractors, they only have one language they understand, look at solar, and they observe the math on that version.

 

Kip:
Are you working more with architects then or with other parts of the community?

 

Scott Franklin:
I’d say our most… The largest projects and the large projects that we’re engaged with are driven by architects. Starting with the consultation phase, and then getting into inspecting their designs, and then getting built in.

 

Kip:
Well, that’s awesome. Scott, I know, we’re at the end of our session, almost. Definitely appreciate the journey that it took us on from your rock climbing, to the prototyping on the residential side and your passion, which is very noble. I’m definitely a firm believer in that, because it just takes a village of people, and our own contribution to do that.
For you, it’s been more than that, because you have to put in your money, your time and your… But I can tell you’re very passionate about it, and obviously just to sudomotor your company and all the things that you’re doing and it’s making a difference. Because certainly, it starts as a pebble, and then you have enough of that, turns into a wave, and then it’s just a paradigm. It’s accepted practice. I’m a fan. I love the journey, and your work in just that triangulation of functional and aesthetics, not just solar, which makes it that much more accessible to both the homeowner and the commercial customers. Appreciate that.
People needed to reach you or your company, how could they do that?

 

Scott Franklin:
Well, I think our website’s our best resource, lumossolar.com. It’s a great portal in. You can look at projects, products, download materials, and then reach out to us directly if there’s more specific questions.

 

Kip:
Well, awesome. Well, thanks again, Scott. Thanks for your time and the journey, and I look forward to talking to you again.

Scott Franklin:
Likewise. Thank you.

Graham:
All right, folks, that wraps us up for today’s show. You can find our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and SoundCloud by searching for the Concora Corner. If you’d like to, we’d love a rating, and a short review if you listen on Apple. Any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out, or just a show in general, or if you just want to say hello.

You can find out more about Concora and our services at www.concora.com We are on Facebook at facebook.com/concorallc. We are on Twitter @Concora. You can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/concora. Thank you for listening and have a great day.

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