The Power of Solar

Solar panels on the roof

We were well into our security camera reign of terror.  Computers were yesterday’s news. We were putting bad guys behind bars and protecting small businesses.  Being able to undercut our competitors’ prices due to lower overhead began to carve out our niche.  We were the smallest game in town, but we were quick, efficient, and competent.  A business owner has to believe in his product, and I was very proud of the product and services we were providing.  I began to recommend my PC repair clients to

House by house, store by store, we planted the seeds of growth. 

I worked my way up to landing a few large clients. We installed cameras in a warehouse for a packaging company that made containers to ship helicopter blades.  We got another warehouse client from a large electronics distributor that is very well-known.  We had a Mercedes dealership, multiple apartment complexes, a dance studio, and endless convenient stores and shops.

After nailing a big job with an apartment complex, I received the following email from the Asian-American owner of the complex:

Steve Coh Compliment


It gave me encouragement and me proud to be a business owner.

But everything changed when a local government official approached me.  Someone from the Mayor’s office of one of the adjacent cities called me saying that he heard good things about my company.  He proceeded to express the need for security in certain areas of the city, namely parks.  Teenage vandalism and car break-ins were the reasons for the need.  It is an upper-class crime-free suburb.

So why me?  Surely a government entity would have the budget to contact one of the big players in the market instead of coming to us.  The kicker was that the type of camera they needed didn’t exist.  They had called many other companies in search of a specific technology.

They had no power. There were trailheads and parks that had no electricity, but they wanted to record.  They pitched their needs to me in a phone conference with Parks and Recreation department to see if we could handle the project.  I told them that it sounded challenging but to give me a few days to see if we could accommodate them.  I sat through very tense and high-pressured meetings with government officials including the Mayor of the city. I did my own research because I thought surely there was a product already out there.  But we couldn’t find one either.  There were still-image game cameras but those don’t catch criminals.

Although my degree was not in engineering, I hit the drawing board.  With the collaboration of two of my technicians, we calculated the required power (voltage and total amperage) we would need to run the devices we had pulling from the power source. We took into account the trickle charge received from the sun during most sunny days (more for summer, less for winter, none for rainy days).  When it was all said and done, we had a fully functional, stand-alone, solar-powered camera system that we built from scratch.

The unit had several features including night vision, motion detection, weatherproof, and a motion-activated voice warning unit.  When a pedestrian walked by, it would alert “Welcome to [city] Park.  For your safety, these premises are monitored by security cameras.”  Not only was it my voice, but it was also on the local news.

With the success of our new project using the device I had engineered, the word spread. Several other municipalities in the metro area approached me wanting the same systems installed. I was even introduced to the head of the “Greenway Alliance”.  This was an organization that helped private and public parts across the Midsouth with all things park-related.  My dream to grow continued to flourish, and I pushed on.