Q&A: Adam Rossi, Adams Solar Resources
Meet Adam Rossi, the vice president of Adams Solar Resources, a rapidly growing solar energy installer in Bridgeville that is successfully greening businesses and homes in the region by harnessing the power of the sun. The company, formerly Adam Electric and Heating, went into business three years ago and employs five. Rossi, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, believes solar is the future, including Pittsburgh.
Keystone Edge (KE): Tell us about Adam Solar Resources.
Adam Rossi (AR): ASR evolved from my father’s company, Adam Electric and Heating Inc. We are a PV/Solar Thermal Sales/Design/Build firm with growing interest in electric vehicles and solar charging station infrastructure. We are a family business too, which means a lot to our customers.
KE: What do you see as the opportunities/potential for Pittsburgh in terms of the solar industry?
AR: The sky is the limit. I think people are really beginning to understand it as a solid investment. With the markets in turmoil and gold at an all time high, why not invest in your power needs for the next 30 or 40 years? Once you buy your system, you’ve just locked in your electricity rate for the next 30+ years. Whenever I see a roof with southern exposure I think, "that roof will be solar one day." Pittsburgh has a long way to go in regard to solar. Our capacity is at 3 megawatts compared to the rest of the state, which comes in at more than 100 megawatts. Philly is kicking our butts in solar capacity.
KE: What is the coolest project in Pittsburgh that you've worked on so far?
AR: George Totolos from Cranberry was the first in South Western, Pa., to purchase a Chevrolet Volt. He wanted to use American Energy rather than foreign energy for his commute, and now he is using energy generated in Cranberry on his roof. The 5.5 kW array we built for him will power his electric Volt 20,000 miles per year. Solar panels are the fueling stations of the future, and they're here today! There are plenty of calculations that show driving off of solar is cheaper than burning $4 in gas every day. My commute to work is 3-cents on an electric scooter bike and I’m currently converting a Honda CRX to be 100% electric. We’re installing a PV system this weekend on our building too, so we can "drive off the sun."
KE: If you could put solar panels one place in the world, where would they be and why?
AR: The White House. That would probably send the best message to our nation and the world. They actually promised to do it by the end of the Spring of 2011 and bailed on the promise. I think companies had even offered to do the install for free. We need to educate people better about solar panels. People should get a good, tingly, Energy Independent American Energy feeling, not just a green, tree-hugger feeling. I think having reliable renewable domestic energy can solve a lot of foreign oil problems. Take a tour of a coal plant and read up on nuclear waste before you can talk down on solar.
KE: If you could put solar power one place in Pittsburgh, where would it be?
AR: How about a giant Solar Car Port at the Pittsburgh International Airport? That would be a sight to see from all the planes and send a nice message to everyone who visits Pittsburgh.
KE: What organizations are active here for people in your business?
AR: SUNWPA (Solar Unified Network of Western Pennsylvania) is the Solar Group we formed about a year ago that meets once a month to promote solar in our region. Three Rivers Solar Source is a project of PennFuture that has done a lot for our industry as well. CCI on the Southside is very helpful and does a good job educating the public on solar.
KE: What's the greatest myth about solar power that you would like to debunk?
AR: That it is too expensive and it doesn’t work. It’s not that expensive and it works really well.
KE: Is your home solar or thermal powered?
AR: I just bought a fixer upper that we’re completely remodeling. I got my grant approval last week and the solar panels are sitting on the shop floor now. They’ll be up as soon as I put a new roof on.
KE: What's your favorite Pittsburgh place to hang out?
AR: The rivers. And no, not the casino! My friends and I enjoy wakeboarding and surfing downtown on the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio. Pittsburgh is so amazing for that! Unfortunately this kind of gnarly fun requires burning gas, but the solar boat dreams will come to fruition one day.
KE: If there was one thing you could change or do for Pittsburgh, what would it be?
AR: No Solar Permits required for authorized installers and some good electric bike legislation.I'd also like people to know that we just sponsored a kid named Alexander Foster who is attempting to ride a 6,000 mile cross country trek on his solar-powered trike! It was a leap of faith but I think he might actually pull it off.
DEB SMIT is Innovation & Jobs News editor for Pop City. Send feedback here.