- I have cofounded and built several successful solar businesses, including Regrid Power (merged with a public company) and McCalmont Engineering, which has been designing large-scale solar power plants throughout the U.S. since 2009.
- Currently, I hold 17 U.S. patents with many applications of advanced technology.
- I hold degrees from Stanford University and Muskingum University and attended the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
What is your field of expertise?
I am a serial entrepreneur with a passion for proliferating solar power to help tackle climate change. I have over 21 years of experience building innovative solar businesses and have started three successful solar companies during that time.
Describe your journey to where you are today.
I’ve always had a passion for clean energy, which led me to study that in school and pursue a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering (Stanford University). I was an early proponent of solar power, starting my first solar company in 2001. That business was a great success, and we merged it with a public company in 2008.
I am a licensed, professional Engineer, a charter NABCEP-certified solar PV Installer, and a licensed electrical and solar contractor in California. Throughout my education and professional experience, I knew I wanted to start a company that would help people unlock the unlimited power of the sun through innovative solar products and EV charging solutions.
In 2009, I co-founded a solar engineering business, McCalmont Engineering, which is one of the leading solar and energy storage design firms in the nation today, responsible for about 8% of the solar megawatts that are designed in the U.S. each year. McCalmont is licensed in 40 U.S. states.
Paired Power was spun out of McCalmont Engineering in 2015. The company was founded with our customers in mind – in fact, McCalmont customers wanted solar canopies with EV chargers underneath them. Considering that traditionally these are seperate systems, we thought it would be so much more innovative if we could develop technology to use solar to charge the EVs directly, DC to DC. We developed and patented that technology, an approach that has many advantages over the traditional two-system, grid-connected architecture. And Paired Power was born.
We then took that technology to the next step by reimagining the architecture of a solar canopy so that it could be built in a way that was quickly deployable and transportable. This enables us to deliver and set up our EV chargers in a matter of hours as opposed to the weeks or months required for the deployment of traditional, grid-connected EV chargers.
What does your company do, for whom, and how does it fit into the bigger picture of solving global issues with clean tech?
Since our inception in 2015, Paired Power has focused on providing affordable EV charging solutions for a variety of markets. Our SunStation EV chargers are the world’s first 100% solar-powered EV chargers that bring many benefits to the market, including rapid deployment, resilient power that is available during outages, and a higher percentage (100%!) of renewable energy to charge EVs than is available from the grid.
We believe in developing cost-effective and sustainable products that are manufactured in the U.S. to overcome the bottlenecks often associated with the installation of EV charging and solar PV infrastructure, and ultimately, that will make the transition to electric transportation simpler.
What do you think is the most important thing we can be doing in terms of clean tech solutions?
The problem of tackling climate change is so much bigger than the general public realizes. that we just have to be massively focused on delivering solar-powered solutions as quickly as possible on as large a scale as possible.
A typical gas-powered passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Putting that in more personal terms, every single gallon of gas burned in a gas-powered car contributes about an additional 20 lbs. of CO2 to the atmosphere. Multiply that by the millions of gallons of gas burned each year, and you understand we are dumping massive quantities of new CO2 into the atmosphere every year. When we think about the impact that has and the already aggressive impacts of climate change, we need to do better and offer solutions that eliminate these emissions. The move to electric transportation is completely feasible; however, we have to work together to create EV charging stations that make it attainable for everyone.
As part of our mission to make the transition to electric transportation more attainable and more affordable, we’ve innovated an entirely new approach to solar canopies that is a solution that can be “popped up” in a matter of hours so customers can get up and running quickly. This eliminates the friction associated with long permitting and construction lead times as well as the extensive parking lot disruption typical of traditional solar canopy construction.
LinkedIn: Tom McCalmont