The energy of the future has arrived in Auburn.
Tiger Green Power, LLC is a renewable energy company specializing in providing electricity producing solar water heaters, day-lighting systems, energy conservation techniques, and more, said Robin Price, president and co-founder of Tiger Green Power.
“It’s basically green building,” Price said. “Building homes that won’t hurt the environment.”
Kraig Barnhart, vice president and co-founder of Tiger Green Power, was raised in Ohio but met Price while attending Auburn.
Both said they decided to start the business after spending more than a decade away from Auburn.
Price said she realized she wanted to get involved with renewable energy after learning about sustainable architecture.
“Sustainability is the practice of using renewable energy to meet our current and future electricity needs without continuing to harm our environment,” Price said.
Jenna Holk, a senior in interior design and student in the masters building construction program, said he is a big supporter of the company.
“Sustainability is the wave of the future,” Holk said. “I think it’s great that we have a local company in this industry and for the right reasons.”
Holk said she recycles and uses compact fluorescent light bulbs to conserve energy.
Ruining natural landscapes such as mountains, for energy sources like coal is unreasonable when there is an abundant source of energy here every day, Holk said.
Renewable energy uses power of the sun, wind and water, which is widely available, unlimited and free, Price said.
Alabama has the same solar potential as Florida; unfortunately wind power potential is ranked 45th in the country, Price said.
“Just devoting one square mile of Alabama’s land to solar power generation can provide enough electricity for nearly 1,200 households every year,” Price said.
A study in 2005 showed Alabama uses 59 percent coal, eight percent natural gas, 25 percent nuclear, eight percent hydroelectric, and less than 1 percent solar and wind power, Price said.
Coal is the most widely used and the most polluting method of generating electricity in Alabama and the USA.
Other than Alabama’s eight percent use of hydro-electric power, Price said the state’s current methods are non-sustainable.
The Department of Energy predicts the state’s power consumption to be 43 percent greater in 2030.
Price said Alabama’s resident per capita use is 7,000 kWh per year, which is 55 percent greater than the national average.
The federal government is currently offering a tax credit of 30% for solar panel systems and solar water heaters installed on homes and businesses.
Price said this is the kind of incentive the state needs to get involved.
“There are also $55 million in grants in place to apply energy efficiency and renewable technology to Alabama’s most financially troubled school districts,” Price said.
Hank Moreman, contractor for Tiger Green Power, has been a builder in the area for 10 years and said he recognized the company as an opportunity.
“I see it as an opportunity to be a better builder and to offer more services and a better level of quality,” Moreman said.
Moreman has installed some of the company’s products like solar tube lighting, double-paned insulated windows and cellulose insulation, made from recycled newspaper.
“There is a dramatic drop in quality of materials and my purpose in it is just a craftsman at heart,” Moreman said. “I like to see things done to the best of whoever’s ability to do them.”
Although kind to the environment, solar products are expensive and should be looked at as a long-term investment, Price said.
“The water heaters pay themselves off in about five to six years and last more than 20,” Price said. “Solar panels last 20 to 30 years but take longer to pay off.”
Right now the company has several investors from Ohio and one in Alabama, Price said. In the future, the company plans to have a store in Auburn.