Renewable energy storage device developed at GVSU business incubator

Date: November 26, 2013

Energy Patners LLC at GVSU

Shown in the Energy Partners LLC lab at the GVSU alternative energy center in Muskegon is, from left, Arn Boezaart, director of the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center; Jim Wolter, company founder; and Ed Brandel, the company's electrical engineer.

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By Dave Alexander |

MUSKEGON, MI – Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center has launched a number of upstart businesses, but breakthrough products have been few and far between.

Energy Partners LLC founder and GVSU professor emeritus Jim Wolter thinks he and partner Ed Brandel have come upon an energy storage device that could be a game changer.

Solar 24 combines a large solar energy panel with a battery pack and electronic circuits to provide a steady stream of energy whether the sun is shining or not. Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle

Energy Partners – a three-year research and development venture that has made the MAREC business incubator its home – introduced Solar 24 at the Solar Power International Conference in Chicago at the end of October.

The energy storage device allows for the steady discharge of electricity created by solar panels over the course of a day even during nighttime hours, Wolter said. Besides technical support from MAREC, Solar 24 received funding from the Michigan-based Business Accelerator Fund.

“This is breakthrough technology,” said Arn Boezaart, director of the Muskegon-based MAREC. “It’s the first of its kind that I’ve seen in the renewable energy industry and addresses the often-cited intermittent nature of solar energy. This kind of innovation is the reason MAREC’s business incubator program provides the resources and space to develop new products and concepts.”

The “secret sauce” is in the electronic circuits that Brandel brought to Energy Partners, Wolter said, adding that patents are pending. The Muskegon native is a Texas Tech University engineering graduate who worked for Texas Instruments in Lubbock, Texas as an electrical engineer.

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