Some of our Huston Solar team had the unique opportunity to tour Crossroads Solar Facility in South Bend, Indiana this past month. Crossroads Solar fabricates solar modules right here in Indiana. Pat Regan, the founder and CEO, was very welcoming and attentive during our visit. Our team had previously met Pat as he came to our divisional office to introduce himself and inform us about Crossroads Solar’s mission.
Pat was a tenured professor at Notre Dame University, where he worked with Westville Correctional Facility to help some inmates achieve a college degree while in prison through the Westville Prison Moreau College Initiative. As he did this, he was able to see that these people did not get the second chance they deserved after serving their time for their wrongdoings. Even with a college degree after prison, getting a job with a livable wage was extremely hard to achieve. Pat saw the flaws in the system and decided to do something about it. Pat saw the potential in Solar Energy and decided to establish a solar module manufacturing business that only hires formerly incarcerated people. This new business venture allowed these former inmates to get a better start at a better life after serving time for their wrongdoings. The mission of this company is “People, planet, profit. “We believe that is a very powerful mission!
On our visit to Crossroads’ facility, we were able to build our own solar module. Learning the process it takes to manufacture a solar module was eye-opening. A solar module starts at the cell, which Crossroads obtain from overseas. The solar cells then go through a machine to string them together in long strips of the modules. The strips are then assembled using a solder gun to string together positive and negative strings of the modules. The module then goes into a press that presses the module in between two sheets of glass and the back module cover. The framing of the module is then glued on, as well as the junction box of the modules, with the positive and negative feeds coming off. After all of this is done, the module goes through a machine that emulates the sun and gives a rating of what the module is producing. We created a 380W Solar module that had a rating of 381+W. We were within acceptable range and were able to say we successfully built a solar module!
This experience was incredible. In addition to building a solar module from scratch, we were able to meet some great members of Pat’s team and learned some tips to bring home to the rest of our team. The ideal of “people, planet, profit” will stick with us. Adapting this ideal will allow us to be better pillars in our community. Thank you to Pat Regan and the Crossroad’s employees for welcoming us with open arms. We look forward and are proud to be using their products on some upcoming solar projects!
Learn more about Crossroads Solar at http://www.crossroads-solar.com/