Monday, October 12, 2009

Open house shines light on Rockland solar power company

By Stephen Betts
The Herald Gazette Associate Editor

ROCKLAND (Oct 9): An idea that started a few years ago in a garage in Rockport has gained the attention of the state.

GSInc. received an $11,400 grant last week from the Maine Technology Institute, a private, nonprofit agency paid for by the state. The grant will assist the company in its plans to manufacture solar manifolds at its plant at 12 Moran Drive in the Industrial Park.

GSInc., which produces EOS solar collectors, employs seven people. The goal is for the company to hire six to eight more people, said Steve Stinson, the company's sales and marketing director.

The company manufactures solar collectors that use insulated glass vacuum tubes to heat water.

The company plans to add the manufacture of its solar manifolds.

The company is the product of Stinson and Nate Greenleaf, the director of research and development. The two came up with the proposal for the company in their garage in Rockport about two-and-a-half years ago.

Stinson was the owner of a convenience store in Rockport. Greenleaf had 15 years of experience in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. With a background in alternative energy, Greenleaf approached Stinson with a concept.

Greenleaf said full scale production should start in three weeks.

The company's Web site notes that the traditional solar industry has failed to go mainstream over the course of the last 30 years.

"We believe that this is due in part to their inability to deliver traditional designs and products that can easily be implemented by plumbing and heating tradesmen," according to the Web site. "GS Inc. has employed these tradesmen to design products and systems that will easily integrate with existing practices. These products are then sold through traditional supply chains and are installed by their peers. The result is a mainstream product that is installed by trained professionals, that virtually anybody can afford."

The system consists of an 80-gallon solar preheat tank that feeds an instant-on tankless hot water heater. This design provides all the domestic hot water needs for the convenience store in Rockport, including the full service kitchen and deli.

The Herald Gazette Associate Editor Stephen Betts can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at

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